Fed’s Rosengren says U.S. economy should see significant rebound this year

Fed’s Rosengren says U.S. economy should see significant rebound this year

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s President and CEO Eric S. Rosengren speaks in New York

By Jonnelle Marte

(Reuters) -The U.S. economy could see a significant rebound this year thanks to accommodative monetary and fiscal policy, but the labor market still has much room for improvement, Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren said on Monday.

“With labor-market slack still significant, and inflation still below the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target, my perspective is that the current highly accommodative stance of monetary policy is appropriate,” Rosengren said during a virtual discussion with business leaders.

Coronavirus vaccines’ ability to successfully prevent the spread of new variants of the virus would also be important, he said. “Assuming virus variants do not become especially problematic, we should see an unusually strong post-recession recovery,” he said.

Under a new framework adopted last year, Fed officials will be patient and leave rates near zero until inflation materializes – no longer raising rates in anticipation of higher inflation when the unemployment rate is low, Rosengren said.

Policymakers are trying to avoid the sluggish recovery that took place after the global financial crisis, and it is possible that the unemployment rate could drop to pre-pandemic levels of about 4% within the next two years, Rosengren said.

While they focus on the recovery, policymakers should also be wary of risks lurking in financial markets, Rosengren said. For example, some money market funds faced liquidity problems last year after some investors pulled their money quickly, he said.

Solutions could include requiring some funds to invest more in government-backed debt. It could also help to develop a system for buying and selling Treasury securities that is not as reliant on broker dealers, which can face strain when large volumes of Treasury securities are sold.

“During the economic recovery, policymakers should be diligent about removing these risks to financial stability,” he said.

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