Fed Chair Jerome Powell Indicates He’ll Keep Bolstering Growth in Public Debut

Fed Chair Jerome Powell Indicates He’ll Keep Bolstering Growth in Public Debut

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Jerome H. Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, which is confronting the question of how quickly to raise interest rates.

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Joshua Roberts/Reuters

WASHINGTON — Jerome H. Powell, the new chairman of the Federal Reserve, will paint an optimistic picture of a strengthening United States economy and signal that he will continue to bolster that growth when he testifies on Tuesday before Congress in his public debut as head of the central bank.

Mr. Powell, in prepared testimony released before his remarks to the House Financial Services Committee, said the job market and business investment continued to strengthen, and that headwinds once holding back the American economy had now turned into tailwinds.

But he emphasized that he planned to continue the policies of his predecessor, Janet L. Yellen, who managed to gradually raise interest rates during her four-year term while still encouraging broad economic growth.

The Fed “will continue to strike a balance between avoiding an overheated economy” and allowing inflation to tick up toward the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target, Mr. Powell said. “Further gradual increase in the federal funds rate will best promote attainment of both of our objectives,” he added.

Mr. Powell, a member of the Fed’s board of governors who was sworn in as chairman earlier this month, faces two days of testimony before the House and Senate, his first public appearance in his new role.

His testimony comes at a critical moment in the economy’s trajectory, as growth continues to strengthen and unemployment remains low. Investors are eagerly awaiting signs of how the Fed, under Mr. Powell’s leadership, will respond and whether it will seek to raise interest rates more quickly than expected.

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