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Trump picks Powell to lead Federal Reserve, policy continuity expected
Last Updated: 2017-11-03 08:22 | Xinhua
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U.S.-WASHINGTON D.C.-FED-CHAIR-NOMINEE-JEROME POWELL

U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell attend a nomination ceremony at the rose garden ofWhite Housein Washington D.C., theUnited States, on Nov. 2, 2017. Trump picked Thursday Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell as next Federal Reserve chair. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday announced his nomination of Jerome Powell to chair the Federal Reserve, a replacement who is widely expected to stay on the course on monetary policy.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Powell, the 64-year-old Fed governor and former investment banker, would take over as head of the world's most powerful central bank in February when current Fed Chair Janet Yellen's term expires.

Powell's nomination is widely regarded as a "safe choice" for the Trump administration, as he holds similar views with Yellen in terms of monetary policy approach and he is open to deregulation which the administration is advocating.

"He has proved to be a consensus builder for the sound monetary and financial policy that he so strongly believes in," Trump said in an announcement at the White House.

"Based on his record, I am confident that Jay has the wisdom and leadership to guide our economy through any challenges that our great economy may face," he added.

A native Washingtonian, Powell received an A.B. in politics from Princeton University in 1975 and earned a law degree from Georgetown University in 1979.

He previously served as undersecretary at the Treasury Department in the George H.W. Bush administration, with responsibility for policy on financial institutions, the Treasury debt market, and related areas.

Following the public service, he became a partner at the Carlyle Group from 1997 through 2005, and amassed considerable wealth.

When picked by then PresidentBarack Obamaas Fed governor in 2012, Powell was one of the wealthiest officials within the central bank, with assets at as much as 55 million U.S. dollars.

"Mr. Powell will bring to the Federal Reserve a unique background of government service and business experience," the White House said in a statement on Thursday.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Powell will become the first Fed chairman without a Ph.D. in economics since 1980s.

Powell has a reputation for being a moderate and consensus builder. He never voted against the Fed's monetary decisions since he joined the central bank in 2012.

He shared similar views to Yellen on the monetary policy front. He supported the central bank to gradually raise interest rates and unwind its 4.5 trillion-U.S.-dollar balance sheet, as a result of the sluggish inflation growth.

At his nomination event, Powell assessed that the U.S. economy made progress toward full recovery, with the economy close to full employment and inflation moving up toward 2 percent target.

Based on this assessment, Powell has supported the central bank to gradually raise rates and reduce the balance sheet. The Fed has raised interest rates four times since the global financial crisis and started to reduce the balance sheet.

Powell openly expressed his concerns about the low productivity growth the U.S. economy is facing and worried that the central bank might lack sufficient room and tools to deal with another economic downturn in the current low interest rate environment.

However, unlike Yellen, Powell is more open to financial deregulation.

In April, he said that the regulations adopted after the global financial crisis have raised burden on smaller firms, although they helped the U.S. financial system to become stronger and more resilient.

He also supported simplifying the rules in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of regulation without sacrificing safety and soundness of the financial system.

"I...am committed to making decisions with objectivity and based on the best available evidence, in the longstanding tradition of monetary policy independence," said Powell at his nomination announcement.

Market investors widely expected that Powell's Fed could ensure the continuity of the monetary policy and might fine-tune current financial regulations.

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