June 20, 2018 / 3:23 PM / a year ago

Powell says U.S. trade policy could impact outlook

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell speaks at his news conference after the two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) on interest rate policy in Washington, U.S., June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Concerns about U.S. trade policy are increasing among business officials who are beginning to hold off on hiring and investment decisions given the level of uncertainty, U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said on Wednesday.

“Concerns seem to be rising,” said Powell, speaking to a European Central Bank conference in Portugal. While Powell said he would not comment on specific proposals from the Trump administration, “for the first time we are hearing about decisions to postpone investment, postpone hiring, postpone making decisions. That is a new thing. If you ask is it in the forecast yet, is it in the outlook, the answer is no. And you don’t see it in the performance of the economy.”

But “in principle changes in trade policy could cause us to have to question the outlook.”

Reporting by Howard Schneider; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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