Fed's Powell talks rate hikes: strong labor market will bring more constraints

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell sounded hawkish on inflation at a forum on Wednesday, saying he expects to raise interest rates many times ahead, and possibly at an aggressive pace.

“We believe there will be more constraints,” Powell told a monetary policy meeting in Sintra, Portugal. “The real driver is a very strong labor market.”

The comments reiterated a position taken by fellow Powell policymakers at their June meeting, where they said an increase of another half percentage point was likely by the end of 2023.

Assuming a one-quarter percentage point increase per session, that would mean two more increases. Powell’s previous comments pointed to the possibility of rate hikes at rotating meetings, though he said on Wednesday that might not be the case, depending on the source of the data.

“You know, I’m not going to take action in back-to-back meetings,” he said during an exchange hosted by CNBC’s Sarah Eisen. The question-and-answer session took place at a forum hosted by the ECB.

Markets took a small hit when Powell spoke, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 120 points.

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