The chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, reaffirmed Friday the bank’s commitment to lowering inflation, saying it is essential to the global financial system’s stability. “The Federal Reserve’s strong commitment to our price stability mandate contributes to the widespread confidence in the dollar as a store of value. To that end, my colleagues and I are acutely focused on returning inflation to our 2 percent objective,” Powell said in introductory remarks for a Fed-sponsored conference on the global role of the U.S. currency. These remarks follow the Federal Open Market Committee’s vote to raise the benchmark rate by three-quarters of a percentage point to a targeted range of 1.5%-1.7%. Banks use this rate to determine borrowing costs for short-term loans, but it also influences credit cards, home equity loans, and auto loans. Inflation has been soaring over the past year, with the consumer price index reporting an 8.6% increase over the past year.
Officials at the Federal Reserve consider 2% inflation healthy for a growing economy and have indicated they will continue to raise rates until prices reach that level. Inflation affects consumers through increased prices at the grocery store, gas pump, and other activities, but Powell’s Friday remarks focused on its global financial importance. “Meeting our dual mandate also depends on maintaining financial stability,” Powell said. “The Fed’s commitment to both our dual mandate and financial stability encourages the international community to hold and use dollars.” Along with maintaining price stability, the Federal Reserve is also responsible for maintaining full employment.