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Powell Is Ready to Back Half-Point Hike in May If Necessary

  • Fed chair says curbing high inflation is top priority for 2022
  • Flags risk of war pushing inflation expectations too high
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Powell Says Fed Will Raise Rates Faster If Necessary
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Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank is prepared to raise interest rates by a half percentage-point at its next meeting if needed, deploying a more aggressive tone toward curbing inflation than he used just a few days earlier.

Policy makers raised the benchmark lending rate by a quarter point at their meeting last week -- ending two years of near-zero borrowing costs -- and signaled six more hikes of that magnitude this year, based on the median projection. Powell indicated that half-point hikes may be on the table when policy makers next gather May 3-4 and at subsequent sessions.