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Fed promises 'unconditional' approach to taking down inflation in report to Congress

The pledge marks the Fed’s strongest statement yet, affirming its commitment to continue raising interest rates.
Image: Fed Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell Speaks At The "Conference On The International Roles Of The U.S. Dollar"
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell waits to deliver remarks at the Conference on the International Roles of the U.S. Dollar, on June 17, 2022 in Washington, DC.Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images

Federal Reserve officials rolled out strong language Friday to describe their approach to inflation, promising a full-fledged effort to restore price stability.

In its annual report on monetary policy — a precursor to Chairman Jerome Powell’s appearance before Congress next week — the central bank promised it would launch a full effort to bring down inflation pressures running at their fastest pace in more than 40 years.

“The Committee’s commitment to restoring price stability — which is necessary for sustaining a strong labor market — is unconditional,” the Fed said in a report to Congress.

That marks the Fed’s strongest statement yet, affirming its commitment to continue raising interest rates and otherwise tightening policy to solve the economy’s paramount issue.

The statement did not elaborate on what “unconditional” means.

Earlier this week, the Fed raised its benchmark interest rate three quarters of a percentage point in a further effort to slow demand. Market participants worry that the Fed tightening could bring on a recession, though Powell said he still thinks that can be avoided.

That rate hike came after a move in May to raise rates by half a point. This week’s move was the most aggressive since 1994.

Along with rate hikes, the Fed also is reducing assets from its $9 trillion balance sheet by allowing some proceeds from bonds it holds to roll off.

Earlier in the day, Powell himself made a similar vow, saying he and the rest of the Fed are “acutely focused” on bringing down inflation.