Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said policymakers ought to be careful of “moving too gradually” on monetary policy despite “significant uncertainties” over inflation.
美联储(Federal Reserve)主席珍妮特•耶伦(Janet Yellen)表示，政策制定者应该慎防在货币政策上“动作过于渐进”，尽管在通胀上存在“重大不确定性”。
Ms Yellen, speaking on Tuesday at the annual meeting of the National Association for Business Economics in Cleveland, Ohio, acknowledged that “some key assumptions underlying the baseline outlook could be wrong in ways that imply that inflation will remain low for longer than currently projected”.
耶伦周二在俄亥俄州克利夫兰举行的全美商业经济协会(National Association for Business Economics)年会上发言，承认“支撑基线前景预测的一些关键假设可能是错误的，而这意味着相比当前预测，通胀将在低位徘徊更久。”
But she cautioned against waiting too long to raise interest rates again, underscoring the signal from the Fed’s latest policy meeting last week that another rate rise may be on the cards before the end of 2017.
“A gradual approach is particularly appropriate in light of subdued inflation and a low neutral real interest rate, which imply that the [Federal Open Market Committee] will have only limited scope to cut the federal funds rate should the economy be hit with an adverse shock,” she said.
“But we should also be wary of moving too gradually. Job gains continue to run well ahead of the longer-run pace we estimate would be sufficient, on average, to provide jobs for new entrants to the labour force.”
She said that without further modest increases in the federal funds rate over time, there is a risk that the labour market could become overheated, potentially creating an inflationary problem down the road that might be difficult to overcome without triggering a recession.
The reason for persistently low inflation has become a matter of intense debate among rate-setters at the Fed. Some of Ms Yellen’s colleagues have offered theories that include structural drags on prices from technology.
Ms Yellen has pointed to other reasons for the inflation undershoots in previous years, among them spare capacity in the jobs market after the recession, falling energy prices and an appreciation of the dollar. On Tuesday she said that further idiosyncratic factors, including a dip in telecoms prices, meant that a recent decline in inflation was “probably temporary”.
As Ms Yellen spoke, the yield on the two-year US Treasury note, which is considered most sensitive to monetary policy, was at its highest point since 2008 at 1.45 per cent, having inched ahead of a peak it reached shortly after last week’s Fed meeting.
The dollar index, measuring the US currency against a basket of peers, pared its gains slightly before rising back up to 93.16, and stocks were largely steady.