Janet Yellen acknowledged yesterday that the US’s persistently subdued inflation could raise questions about the Federal Reserve’s current path of gradually lifting interest rates and vowed to watch prices “very closely” for signs they were stagnating.
珍妮特•耶伦(Janet Yellen)昨日承认，美国持续疲软的通胀可能使美联储(Federal Reserve)逐步提升利率的当前路径产生变数，她誓言将“非常密切地”关注价格，留意价格停滞的迹象。
The Fed chair insisted it was “premature” to second guess her policymakers’ determination that inflation was slowly heading towards the central bank’s target of 2 per cent. But her note of caution helped sparked a rally in US Treasuries and equities, with investors hopeful Ms Yellen would maintain the Fed’s easy money stance for longer.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a new intraday high of 21,580.79 and yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury slid more than 4 basis points to 2.316 per cent.
道琼斯工业平均指数(Dow Jones Industrial Average)涨至21580.79点的日内新高，而基准的10年期国债收益率下跌逾4个基点，至2.316%。
Ms Yellen was broadly positive about the economy’s performance in testimony to Congress, stressing there had been a rebound in household spending over recent months and that the Fed was still expecting further rate increases.
But she also said she was studying the inflation data for signs that short-term drags on prices might not be the only factors holding them back. She added that rates might not need to be lifted a lot more to return to a neutral stance.
“We are watching inflation very carefully,” Ms Yellen told Congress. “I do believe part of the weakness in inflation reflects transitory factors but well recognise that inflation has been running under our 2 per cent objective, that there could be more going on there.”
Analysts said Ms Yellen’s remarks marked a small but significant change of thinking, putting the Fed’s path of gradually pulling back on economic stimulus in question.
“Yellen’s statement today reveals that the Fed isn’t as sure about inflation as they led us to believe,” said Luke Bartholomew, investment strategist at Aberdeen Asset Management.
“从耶伦今日的声明看，美联储对于通胀并不像他们之前呈现给我们的印象那么有把握，”安本资产管理公司(Aberdeen Asset Management)投资策略师卢克•巴塞洛缪(Luke Bartholomew)表示。
Emerging markets, which depend on money flows from low-yielding rich countries, were particularly heartened. The South African rand, the Turkish lira and the Russian rouble led a rally of emerging market currencies, with the rand jumping over 2 per cent.
Fed policymakers ended their latest meeting split on how to respond to disappointing inflation data. Core inflation retreated slightly to 1.4 per cent in May, defying predictions from some rate-setters that price growth would be buoyed by the robust jobs recovery.
While only one rate-setting official dissented over the Fed’s quarter-point rate increase in June persistently weak inflation could yet embolden doves in the coming months.
For her part, Ms Yellen has repeatedly argued during the Fed’s rate-raising cycle that inflation will eventually materialise given the continued improvements in the jobs market, and she stuck firmly to this view yesterday.
Additional reporting by Adam Samson