"Interest rates are still low by historical standards, and they remain just below the broad range of estimates of the level that would be neutral for the economy — that is, neither speeding up nor slowing down growth," Powell told the Economic Club of New York in a speech being closely watched in what has become a volatile financial marketplace.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note crept higher to 3.061 percent at 4:56 p.m. ET, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond climbed to 3.347 percent. The 2-year Treasury note yield, which is impacted to a greater extent by changes in Fed policy, dropped 2 basis point to 2.813 percent.
The fall in short-term rates contributed to a steeping of the yield curve. The spread between the 2-year yield and the 10-year yield rose to 24 basis points from recent lows near 20.