A full recap of Fed Chief Powell's market-moving comments on rates, economy

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell spoke to reporters following the central bank's July policymaking decision.

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Powell's press conference concludes

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell ended the press conference after speaking and answering questions for about one hour. — Thomas Franck

Powell says Fed hasn't considered buying stocks

Powell, asked about whether the Fed has considered extending its emergency powers to include buying equities, said that hasn't been considered thus far.

"We haven't looked at that," he said. "We have no intention — we haven't done work, or thought about buying equities."

Powell explained that the statutes that allow the Fed to purchase corporate securities have strict and specific requirements pertaining to the expected solvency of the business or businesses. Though Powell said that the Fed hasn't made a complete list of the securities it can and cannot purchase, he believes the current legislation provides the central bank with at least enough power to buy qualifying corporate debt. — Thomas Franck

Fed chief throws cold water on one of markets' bubbling trades

US economy will be struggling against disinflationary pressures rather than inflationary, says Fed's Powell
US economy will be struggling against disinflationary pressures rather than inflationary, says Fed's Powell

Powell said the Fed does not see inflation on the horizon yet, as some in the markets are predicting. "Fundamentally, this is a disinflationary shock...There's a lot of discussion over how this might lead to inflation over time," said Powell. "We see core inflation dropping to 1%. I do think for some time we're going to be struggling against disinflationary pressures rather than inflationary pressures."

As the dollar has sold off more than 4% this month and gold has risen to new highs, traders have been betting that central bank easing and the surge in U.S. debt will ultimately lead to inflation. — Patti Domm

Powell says there may be need for greater support from Fed, Congress

While the Federal Reserve and Congress both have taken unprecedented steps to combat the coronavirus-related recession, Fed Chair Jerome Powell indicated more could be ahead. During his post-meeting news conference Wednesday, the central bank leader said he feels "like we have the ability to do more."

He did not specify, but Powell and other Fed leaders have stressed the importance of the fiscal authorities in Congress to give money directly to people and businesses, whereas the central bank only has lending powers.

"I think in the broad scheme of things, that there will be a need both for more support from us and more fiscal policy," he added. "You see the ongoing discussions that they're having. It suggests to me that both sides, they're wrangling over various provisions but nonetheless believe that there is the need for some additional fiscal support." — Jeff Cox

The coronavirus driving economy, Powell says

Path of economy is going to depend on the measures we take to keep virus in check, says Fed chair Jerome Powell
Path of economy is going to depend on the measures we take to keep virus in check, says Fed chair Jerome Powell

Fed Chair Jerome Powell addressed an addition to the central bank's statement which pointed to the pandemic as the main factor in determining the economic recovery. Powell said the sentence was "so fundamental" that it needed to be in the statement. 

"I think we feel that it might be the most central fact or the most central driver of the path of the economy is the virus," Powell said. He pointed to high frequency data showing a slowing recovery as support for the idea that the continuing health concerns are hurting the economy. — Jesse Pound

Powell says the Fed is working to build up coin supply, restore circulation

Fed plans to work with U.S. Mint and create task force to address coin shortage
Fed plans to work with U.S. Mint and create task force to address coin shortage

Powell said the Fed is closely monitoring an ongoing coin shortage in the U.S. and is working with the mints to restore normal currency circulation.

"The quantity of coins is going up, but was adequate before the pandemic. The problem is the circulation kind of stopped because stores were closed, banks were closed, customers weren't spending," Powell said. "The coins stopped moving in the system so we've been working ever since that began to happen—we saw it happening right away. We've been working to try to reverse that disruption in the supply chain and restore normal circulation for our coins."

"So we're working with the U.S. mint, which is the issuing authority, to address the issue. Just last week the mint ... issued a statement asking for the public's help in keeping coins circulating and various people went in a put their coins back into circulation," he added. "We also created a coin taskforce with all of the stakeholders: banks, the armored carriers, the banking community, credit unions. Everybody in the coin supply chain." — Thomas Franck

Powell said Fed will sustain historic policy until confident economy has 'weathered recent events'

Fed Chair Powell said the central bank will sustain historic monetary policy until it's confident the economy has navigated through the Covid-19 pullback.

"We are committed to using our full range of tools to support the economy in this challenging time," Powell said. "We have held our policy rate near zero since mid-March and have stated that we will keep it there until we are confident the economy has weathered recent events and is on track to achieve our maximum employment and price stability goals."

"We have been purchasing sizable quantities of Treasury and agency-mortgage-backed securities in order to support orderly conditions in the markets which are vital to the flow of credit in the economy," he added. — Thomas Franck

Powell starts speaking on Fed's latest decision

Watch Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell’s opening statement
Watch Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell’s opening statement

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has begun speaking to reporters and will soon answer questions on the central bank's latest policy decision. — Thomas Franck

Stocks higher ahead of Powell's press briefing

Stocks remained higher for the day following the Federal Reserve's latest interest rate announcement. The Dow was trading about 110 points, or 0.4%, higher. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were up 1% and 1.2%, respectively.

You can follow the market reaction to Jerome Powell's speech here when he begins speaking at 2:30 p.m. ET. — Jesse Pound

Evercore strategist says expect dovish commentary from Powell at 2:30 pm presser

Evercore strategist Dennis DeBusschere wrote in an email immediately following the Fed's decision that he expects Powell to underscore the central bank's commitment to easy lending at the 2:30 p.m. press conference.

DeBusschere and his team have closely followed Covid-19 developments for months, tracking which statistics investors should care about most for their impact on the U.S. economy.

I "would expect dovish comments from Powell given the (from the statement) and the fact that virus impact worsened over July. Which makes sense," he wrote. "Again, it is important that given the below, it is important that we DO NOT get a signal on a delay in the monetary policy review results (when we will get the details on how they will drive inflation above 2%) at the press conference."

"The path of the economy will depend significantly on the course of the virus," he continued. "The ongoing public health crisis will weigh heavily on economic activity, employment, and inflation in the near term, and poses considerable risks to the economic outlook over the medium term." — Thomas Franck

Fed leaves rates unchanged near zero, says growth 'well below' pre-Covid levels

Federal Reserve says it will keep interest rates near zero until economy picks up
Federal Reserve says it will keep interest rates near zero until economy picks up

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday decided to leave interest rates unchanged around zero and cited U.S. economic growth "well below" pre-pandemic levels for the easy monetary policy.

The Federal Open Market Committee, which sets monetary policy for the broader central bank, said it will continue to make bond purchases and its litany of lending and liquidity programs devised to help ease the effects of the pandemic.

"Following sharp declines, economic activity and employment have picked up somewhat in recent months but remain well below their levels at the beginning of the year," the Fed said in its statement. — Jeff Cox, Thomas Franck

Fed expected to reiterate pledge to provide easy monetary policy

The Federal Reserve is expected to double down on its promise to do whatever it takes to fix the U.S. economy when it issues its statement at 2 p.m. ET. That isn't likely to result in a departure from the Fed's current easy policies or language, but Chairman Jerome Powell could provide additional insight when he addresses reporters at 2:30 p.m. ET. 

The Fed has over the course of 2020 slashed interest rates to virtually zero and embarked on a host of lending programs to help businesses navigate through the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting recession.

Rick Rieder, BlackRock's chief investment officer of global fixed income, told CNBC the market will be looking to see just how forceful Powell is when talking about the economic outlook and ongoing growth uncertainty. 

"I think the press conference will be interesting," said Rieder. "I think they are going to continue to err on the side of doing more rather than doing less. They are going to continue to emphasize the uncertainty." — Patti Domm, Thomas Franck