Trump interviewed Jerome Powell for Fed chair position, DJ reports

Finance


President Donald Trump apparently is getting more serious about determining who he will pick for the next Federal Reserve chairman.

In addition to interviewing former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh this week for the position, Trump also has spoken to Governor Jerome “Jay” Powell in recent days, according to a report Friday afternoon from the Wall Street Journal, which cited a White House source.

Powell brings deep Wall Street roots to the job from his tenure as a partner at the Carlyle Group from 1997 to 2005.

He was appointed to fill an unexpired term in 2012, then received an appointment in 2014 to a full term that will expire in 2028.

In addition to the Carlyle and Fed positions, Powell served as an Assistant Secretary and as Undersecretary of the Treasury under President George H.W. Bush. In that position he helped oversee bank regulations, the Treasury debt market and other areas similar to responsibilities at the central bank.

He also is a current voting member of the policymaking Federal Open Market Committee.

The latest development comes as speculation grows over who will succeed Janet Yellen as Fed chair, or whether Trump might simply choose to reappoint her. Powell is considered a dark-horse for the job, with many on Wall Street now figuring Warsh is the more likely candidate.

On PredictIt, an online platform that allows users to bet on outcomes of certain events, Powell’s name is not even listed. The site currently considers Warsh a strong favorite at 39 percent, while Yellen is next at 24 percent.

In his current role with the Fed, Powell heads the oversight committee, which is most directly responsible for monitoring big banks. He’s generally been a supporter of the central bank’s current track in which it has expressed intent to keep raising rates at a gradual but sustained pace and will start shrinking the $4.5 trillion balance sheet in October.

“Powell has Republican credentials, knows thevBoard and FOMC well, and while not a PhD-trained economist a la Yellen and Bernanke, has impressed with his grasp of monetary economics in his speeches and public presentations,” Peter Hooper, chief economist at Deutsche Bank, said in a note. “We suspect that a Powell-led Fed would not be a large
step away from a Yellen-led Fed and would thus represent policy continuity for markets.”


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