Powell will deliver part 1 of Humphrey Hawkins in the Senate
The Fed tends to be a punching bag when the economy is in bad shape or when they try something new. If I were a politician, I would certainly be trying to score points on a central bank buying junk bonds and calling a program delivering loans up to $300m as ‘Main Street’ lending.
But I don’t think the market cares. Powell has all the canned answers ready, saying that inflation is low and that the aim is to lower employment.
The criticism of the Fed chair last week was that he was too downcast. Perhaps he will try to correct that but I don’t think it’s warranted. The most-important thing for the market is that he reiterates that the FOMC will “act forcefully, proactively and aggressively.” I don’t see that changing.
One area that is a bit of a minefield is unwinding all the March programs. For instance, the stated goal of the corporate bond buying program is to restore market functioning and it’s set to expire in September. They’ve already achieved the goal — spreads are narrow. Will he start to move the goalposts?
The headlines will be out at the top of the hour and the Q&A will start 20-30 mins later.