He made one decision, and that was to say less.

Lots of people have a lot to say about Jay Powell. The guy who hired him. The people who work with him. The people who used to work with him. The people hoping to work with him in the future. The cash markets (again and again). Moron congressmen. Jim Cramer. But Jay Powell himself? He is, at long last, achieving every Fed chair’s goal of using many words to say precisely nothing.

Pressed throughout his press conference on what the Fed would do next, he gave variations of that non-answer. Did the Fed have a “bias” on which way rates would move next? He answered: “We made one decision, to lower the federal-funds rate by a quarter of a percentage point.”

The immediate reason for this studied unhelpfulness is that the principal risk to the economy—a trade war between the U.S. and China—is impossible to forecast. But there is a larger purpose too: talking less about the Fed’s intentions minimizes miscommunication while maximizing flexibility when economic and trade-war developments change.

The man may be a B-minus Fed chair, but he may finally be earning As in Fedspeak.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell Masters the Art of Saying Nothing [WSJ]
Fed Sees Three Dissents at Meeting for First Time Since 2016 [WSJ]
Fed Adds $75 Billion to Financial System in Fourth Repo Transaction This Week [WSJ]

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