BLINK: Fed Delivers Fuzzier Rate Message

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With half-point interest-rate increases all but certain in June and July, Federal Reserve officials are shifting the focus away from a destination on hikes to something that’s trickier to determine and explain: the broader impact of their policies on the economy.

At the start of the hiking cycle, Chair Jerome Powell said the goal was “getting rates back up to more neutral levels as quickly as we practicably can.” In May, however, he walked back from the concept of neutral — a level that neither slows nor speeds up growth — cautioning that the discussion had a “sort of false precision.”

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“You know, you’re going to raise rates, and you’re going to be kind of inquiring how that is affecting the economy through financial conditions,” he said.

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