US President Donald Trump is set to nominate Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell as the head of the American central bank, the White House announced. The President had settled on Powell by October 28 and spoke with him on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency quoted The Wall Street Journal as saying. Trump had recently concluded interviews of five candidates for the next Fed chair, including Powell, Stanford University economist John Taylor, former Fed governor Kevin Warsh, White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and current Fed Chair Janet Yellen, whose term expires next February.
On Wednesday, Trump said that he planned to formally announce his pick for the Fed chair on Thursday, adding “you’ll be extremely impressed by this person”. If confirmed by the Senate, Powell, a lawyer and former US Treasury official, would be the first Fed chair in three decades without a Ph.D. in economics. “He would represent the continuity of the Fed system and culture but a break from the predominance of monetary policy as the core background of the chair,” Aaron Klein, an economic studies fellow at the Brookings Institution, was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying.
The appointment of Powell is likely to be well received on Wall Street, as he has never dissented from any monetary policy decision since becoming governor in May 2012. He is widely expected to continue Yellen’s gradual and cautious strategy in tightening monetary policy after taking the helm of the central bank. “The healthy state of our economy and favourable outlook suggest that the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) should continue the process of normalizing monetary policy,” Powell said in June at the Economic Club of New York, referring to the Fed’s policy-making committee.
“The Committee has been patient in raising rates, and that patience has paid dividends,” he added.