Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell worked to quell growing concerns from investors Friday, characterizing the United States economy as strong and independent from the president. Despite his confident tone, Powell promised to swiftly adjust monetary policy if global growth slows under the burden of an ongoing trade war. “We wouldn’t hesitate to make a change” in policy, Powell said. The Fed chair touted the increased growth in hourly wages announced in Friday’s jobs report, but acknowledged concerns about growth in China and around the world—particularly related to trade tensions between the Trump White House and Beijing. He also noted that if economic conditions weaken, the Fed would reconsider its stated plan to raise interest rates.
Despite sharp criticism from President Trump, the Fed has raised rates for five consecutive quarters and has penciled in an additional two rate hikes for 2019. When asked if he would resign if Trump asked him to, Powell replied, “no.”