U.S. economic recovery remains uneven, far from complete: Fed chief
FILE PHOTO: Jerome Powell, chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve. /VCG

FILE PHOTO: Jerome Powell, chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve. /VCG

U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told lawmakers on Tuesday that U.S. economic recovery remains uneven and far from complete, and the path ahead is highly uncertain.

Powell, who had prepared remarks for the Senate Banking Committee, said it may take "some time" to achieve meaningful progress on lowering inflation to target and lowering unemployment.

"The economy is a long way from our employment and inflation goals, and it is likely to take some time for substantial further progress to be achieved," Powell said.

He also indicated that the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic meant inflation was still notably "soft" in parts of the world's largest economy.

"Following large declines in the spring, consumer prices partially rebounded over the rest of last year. However, for some of the sectors that have been most adversely affected by the pandemic, prices remain particularly soft," he said.

"Overall, on a 12-month basis, inflation remains below our two percent longer-run objective."

In a cautionary assessment of the economy, Powell said the recent decline in confirmed coronavirus cases and the continued rollout of vaccines offered hope.

"While we should not underestimate the challenges we currently face, developments point to an improved outlook for later this year. In particular, ongoing progress in vaccinations should help speed the return to normal activities," he said.

Powell reiterated that the Federal Reserve was committed to using its "full range of tools" to support the economy and to help ensure that the recovery from "this difficult period" will be as "robust as possible".

(With input from agencies)

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