Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell announced Wednesday that as of January 2019 he will hold press conferences after every policy meeting.
Powell was speaking to reporters after the Fed announced its decision to raise interest rates.
Since former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke started holding pressers in April 2011, they’ve happened once every quarter, or four times out of the eight scheduled meetings per year. And since the Fed started its post-recession rate increases in late-2015, hikes have coincided with pressers so that the chair has an opportunity to explain the decision.
Press conferences after every meeting would give the Fed more room to raise or cut interest rates as the economy warrants, and to be less choreographed.
“I want to point out that having twice as many press conferences does not signal anything about the pace or timing of future interest rate changes,” Powell said. “This change is only about improving communications.”
This change is yet another way that Powell marks a stylistic shift from his predecessors. To begin with, he does not have an academic background like his predecessors including Bernanke and Janet Yellen. Also, his press conference in March set the record for the shortest ever.
On Wednesday, he opened the presser by giving a “plain-English summary” of the economy’s state instead of reading out the Fed’s prepared statement.
The Federal Open Market Committee voted to lift the target range for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points to between 1.75% and 2%, as had been widely expected. It also deleted a chunk of text contained in prior statements that indicated it expected the economy to “evolve in a manner that will warrant further gradual increases” in rates.