Jerome Powell heads to Capitol Hill this week to do something he's struggled with lately: convey the Federal Reserve's future intentions without upsetting financial markets.
The central bank chairman has suffered a series of missteps and backtracks.
It began in October with his pronouncement that the Fed was "a long way" from a neutral interest rate, continued in December when he said the process of reducing the balance sheet was on "autopilot," then ran into January and February when remarks he made seeming to pivot off his previous stance generated criticism that he was operating at Wall Street's whims.
His mandated remarks this week, first before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday then a day later before the House Financial Services Committee, allow him a chance to chart a clearer course that features less vacillation and more sensitivity.
"The market will be watching very closely to try to confirm that it heard nothing new," said Matt Toms, chief investment officer for fixed income at Voya Investment Management. "There's a desire for nothing new, for a moment of a 'let's never fight again' relationship between Powell and the markets. The markets have been fully liking what they've heard lately, and I think it's going to listen to make sure no new news comes out."