U.S. Fed official says trade uncertainty major factor weighing on economy

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-21 15:15:29|Editor: xuxin
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Trade uncertainty has been a major factor weighing on the U.S. economy over the past year, a senior Federal Reserve official said on Wednesday.

"Trade uncertainty has been a major theme and we see it in the decline in business investment, we see it on exports and we see it in the manufacturing sector," Fed Governor Lael Brainard said in an interview with CNBC.

The Fed official noted that the prospect of U.S.-China trade talks is one of the factors she is taking into account for her outlook of the U.S. economy.

"Even a truce would be a significant reduction in uncertainty for a lot of businesses around the country that are sitting on the sidelines in terms of investment," she said.

Brainard also said she would like to see how the interest rate cuts ripple through the U.S. economy before making further changes to monetary policy.

"The committee has a pretty substantial adjustment in the path of rates over the past few meetings," Brainard said of the central bank's policy-making committee.

"It will take some time to see that work through the economy, so I certainly want to monitor and assess how the economy is reacting to those cuts," she said.

The Fed has already lowered interest rates three times since July, amid growing risks and uncertainties stemming from trade tensions, weakness in global growth and muted inflation pressures.

Fed officials generally agreed that they likely won't need to cut rates again as long as the economy stays on track, according to the minutes of the Fed's latest monetary policy meeting released Wednesday.

"Most participants judged that the stance of policy, after a 25 basis point reduction at this meeting, would be well calibrated to support the outlook of moderate growth, a strong labor market, and inflation near the Committee's symmetric 2 percent objective," said the minutes of the Fed's policy meeting in late October.