Inflation, uncertainty, and monetary policy
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Low inflation likely reflects factors whose influence should fade over time. But many uncertainties attend this assessment, and downward pressures on inflation could prove to be unexpectedly persistent. My colleagues and I may have misjudged the strength of the labor market, the degree to which longer-run inflation expectations are consistent with our inflation objective, or even the fundamental forces driving inflation. In interpreting incoming data, we will need to stay alert to these possibilities and, in light of incoming information, adjust our views about inflation, the overall economy, and the stance of monetary policy best suited to promoting maximum employment and price stability. How should policy be formulated in the face of such significant uncertainties? In my view, it strengthens the case for a gradual pace of adjustment. But we should also be wary of moving too gradually. It would be imprudent to keep monetary policy on hold until inflation is back to 2%.
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