A U.S. recession is "certainly a possibility" if interest rates rise too high too fast, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told U.S. senators Wednesday, even as he conceded that rates will have to rise into levels that restrict growth to contain record high inflation.
"The events of the last few months around the world have made it more difficult for us to achieve what we want, which is 2% inflation and still a strong labor market," he said in his semiannual testimony to Congress. "We do not think we need to provoke a recession."
"We think it will be appropriate to raise rates above a neutral level into a moderately, modestly restrictive level because this is very high inflation and it's hurting everybody," he said. The FOMC last week said rates could rise to 3.4% by year-end, above the 2.5% longer run fed funds rate. (See: MNI STATE OF PLAY: Fed Lays Path To Restrictive Stance Near 4%)