US: No decision made on size of March rate hike, says Powell

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) has yet to make a decision on the size of the rate hike planned for its meeting this month, its chairman, Jerome Powell, said on Wednesday.

“We have not made any decisions regarding the March meeting, we are not going to do so until we have seen the new data” expected by the meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC, committee of monetary policy) from March 21 to 22, he said during his hearing in the United States House of Representatives.

“We are not on a predefined path” and the forthcoming data will help determine whether a rate hike of 25 basis points or 50 basis points is needed at the next meeting of central bank officials, a- he added.

The day before, before the US Senate Banking Committee, Jerome Powell had estimated that the US central bank should probably raise its rates again and perhaps faster than expected in the face of recent strong economic data.

The Labor Department is due to release its February jobs report on Friday after January’s figures were well above expectations.

The monthly survey by the firm ADP showed on Wednesday that the private sector in the United States had created more jobs than expected in February, or 242,000 against 119,000 jobs the previous month.

(Report Michael S. Derby; French version Claude Chendjou, edited by Blandine Hénault)

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