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Is inflation about to rise? Are interest rates too high? Or too low? Are economic risks lurking? These are the fears that keep US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell from getting a good night’s sleep.
While he was generally upbeat about the US economy, predicting that the good news could continue ‘effectively indefinitely,’ when asked Wednesday what keeps him up at night, Powell said, ‘Basically everything.’
‘Nobody wants a central banker who sleeps well. What good is that?’ Powell told a forum hosted by The Atlantic.
Concerns about getting monetary policy right top the list but Powell said, ‘It’s a world full of risk. I probably lose sleep over different things every night.’
But even so, he noted that the US economy was seeing very low, and falling, unemployment along with moderate inflation.
‘There is really no reason to think this cycle can’t continue for quite some time,’ he said.
Whenever the next crisis comes, he predicted it will not look like the last one – and there are no signs of financial instability or banking issues – but would be something like a cyber-attack or global event.
Rising protectionism and slowing of an important economy like China would be ‘bad for American workers and the American economy,’ he said.
But if President Donald Trump’s trade confrontations – which so far include cranking up tariffs on half of the goods imported from China – result in lower tariffs and better trade rules, ‘that will be good for us.’