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Powell, Brainard hearings may spotlight inflation risks, broader Fed debates

Monday, January 10, 2022

By Howard Schneider

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. Senate committee holds hearings this week for Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and vice chair nominee Lael Brainard that could provide new details about the U.S. central bank's plans to tighten monetary policy, but also kick off a broader debate in coming weeks about its role in addressing issues as disparate as climate change and racial inequality.

Powell appears before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday for consideration to a second four-year term as head of the Fed; Brainard, currently a Fed governor, will be questioned by the same panel on Thursday for promotion to a four-year term as Fed vice chair. The positions require majority approval by the full Senate, which is narrowly controlled by President Joe Biden's Democrats, with the committee hearings a first step.

The jobs are among the two most important in the U.S. and global economies, and top of mind at the hearings will be the Fed's plans for raising interest rates and possibly reducing its more than $8 trillion in bond holdings to curb inflation that has sped far beyond the central bank's 2% target.

The issue has become politically troubling for Biden, with price increases undermining wage gains for many workers, cited by Republicans as stemming from Biden's ambitious spending, and acknowledged by Democrats as evidence the reopening of the economy is not going so smoothly.

The Fed in December flagged plans to tighten policy faster than expected in response, with a rate hike perhaps as soon as March. But that was before it became clear just how fast the Omicron variant of the coronavirus would spread, with this week's hearings the first opportunity for Powell and Brainard to say how the current outbreak of the disease and the consequent disruptions to school and commerce have influenced their outlook.

Economists, if anything, have tilted in a hawkish direction, and in recent days intensified their view that the Fed would move sooner and at a quicker pace to tame price increases that show no sign of moderating on their own. The Consumer Price Index is expected to have increased around 7% in December from a year earlier, according to a Reuters poll of economists, a level not seen since the high inflation scares of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The data will be released on Wednesday.

"The Fed's growing discomfort with higher inflation is currently outweighing any concerns about downside risks from the Omicron variant," Oxford Economics economists Nancy Vanden Houten and Kathy Bostjancic wrote recently.

Financial markets are clearly positioning for a Fed that is prepared to be more aggressive in its response to inflation.

Bond markets are rapidly repricing for a higher interest rate environment, with yields on Treasury securities marching upward and bondholders suffering deep losses in the first week of 2022. Riskier assets like stocks and even cryptocurrencies - a relatively new asset class with scant experience confronting a Fed tightening cycle - have also nosedived in the early days of the year.

FAMILIAR FACES

Biden's decision to appoint two Washington and Fed policy veterans to the central bank's top jobs was in part a vote for continuity and bipartisanship at a critical moment for the U.S. recovery from the pandemic - incomplete in many ways but bedeviled by rising prices, disruptions to the supply chain for goods, and constrained by some workers' reluctance to take jobs.

Powell, a Republican, and Brainard, a Democrat, are familiar personalities on Capitol Hill who have cleared prior votes in the Senate, worked closely on the Fed's massive response to the coronavirus crisis, and more lately collaborated on plans to exit those support programs as inflation surged.

But the nominations also signal change. Brainard has been vocal as a Fed governor about the central bank's need to analyze and ultimately address the potential impact climate change could have on financial institutions, equity values and other aspects of the economy - views that align with Biden and which she would be in a stronger position to advocate as vice chair.

Other coming Fed appointments by Biden, including to the open position of vice chair for financial regulation, are expected to reinforce the importance at the central bank of climate and other issues like the impact of inequality on the economy, and possibly produce the first majority-female Fed board in the central bank's history.

Republicans may focus questions to Brainard about her climate views; Powell may face tough questions from some Democrats, notably Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has already announced plans to oppose his nomination for what she sees as a too-lax approach to regulating big banks.

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24-01-2022 06:44:13 (UTC+7)

EUR/USD

1.1312

-0.0029 (-0.25%)

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↑ Sell

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Sell (12)

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EUR/USD

1.1312

-0.0029 (-0.25%)

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↑ Sell

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GBP/USD

1.3497

-0.0057 (-0.42%)

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Sell

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USD/JPY

113.75

+0.07 (+0.07%)

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↑ Buy

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AUD/USD

0.7132

-0.0050 (-0.70%)

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USD/CAD

1.2612

+0.0031 (+0.24%)

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Neutral

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EUR/JPY

128.68

-0.23 (-0.18%)

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↑ Buy

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EUR/CHF

1.0318

-0.0014 (-0.14%)

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Gold Futures

1,838.85

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Neutral

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Silver Futures

24.082

-0.238 (-0.98%)

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Neutral

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Copper Futures

4.4420

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Crude Oil WTI Futures

85.03

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Brent Oil Futures

87.01

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Natural Gas Futures

3.788

+0.006 (+0.16%)

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US Coffee C Futures

233.68

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Neutral

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Euro Stoxx 50

4,140.25

-89.31 (-2.11%)

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S&P 500

4,397.93

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DAX

15,312.92

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FTSE 100

7,404.69

-89.44 (-1.19%)

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Buy

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Hang Seng

24,656.46

-309.09 (-1.24%)

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US Small Cap 2000

1,987.92

-36.12 (-1.78%)

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IBEX 35

8,530.20

-164.50 (-1.89%)

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Neutral

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BASF SE NA O.N.

65.200

-0.980 (-1.48%)

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51.13

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Allianz SE VNA O.N.

219.57

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Adidas AG

245.30

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Deutsche Lufthansa AG

6.750

-0.159 (-2.30%)

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Siemens AG Class N

140.84

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11.074

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 EUR/USD1.1312↑ Sell
 GBP/USD1.3497Sell
 USD/JPY113.75↑ Buy
 AUD/USD0.7132↑ Sell
 USD/CAD1.2612Neutral
 EUR/JPY128.68↑ Buy
 EUR/CHF1.0318Buy
 Gold1,838.85Neutral
 Silver24.082Neutral
 Copper4.4420↑ Buy
 Crude Oil WTI85.03↑ Buy
 Brent Oil87.01↑ Buy
 Natural Gas3.788↑ Buy
 US Coffee C233.68Neutral
 Euro Stoxx 504,140.25Neutral
 S&P 5004,397.93↑ Sell
 DAX15,312.92Neutral
 FTSE 1007,404.69Buy
 Hang Seng24,656.46↑ Buy
 Small Cap 20001,987.92Buy
 IBEX 358,530.20Neutral
 BASF65.200↑ Buy
 Bayer51.13Buy
 Allianz219.57↑ Buy
 Adidas245.30↑ Buy
 Lufthansa6.750↑ Buy
 Siemens AG140.84↑ Sell
 Deutsche Bank AG11.074Sell
Mua/Bán 1 chỉ SJC
# So hôm qua # Chênh TG
SJC Eximbank6,170/ 6,210
(50/ 50) # 1,154
SJC HCM6,150/ 6,210
(27/ 17) # 1,155
SJC Hanoi6,150/ 6,212
(27/ 17) # 1,157
SJC Danang6,150/ 6,212
(27/ 17) # 1,157
SJC Nhatrang6,150/ 6,212
(27/ 17) # 1,157
SJC Cantho6,150/ 6,212
(27/ 17) # 1,157
Cập nhật 24-01-2022 06:44:16
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ↀ Giá vàng thế giới
$1,839.40+4.760.26%
Live 24 hour Gold Chart
ʘ Giá bán lẻ xăng dầu
Sản phẩmVùng 1Vùng 2
RON 95-IV2486025350
RON 95-II,III
E5 RON 92-II2359024060
DO 0.05S1890019270
DO 0,001S-V1925019630
Dầu hỏa1779018140
ↂ Giá dầu thô thế giới
WTI$84.84-0.06-0.07%
Brent$86.92+0.971.11%
$ Tỷ giá Vietcombank
Ngoại tệMua vàoBán ra
USD22.500,0022.810,00
EUR25.000,4426.401,93
GBP29.901,5831.178,49
JPY193,25204,57
KRW16,4019,98
Cập nhật lúc 18:37:48 24/01/2022
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