Fed's Powell: Not certain Delta outbreak will dent recovery

Senate Banking Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Washington
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies before the Senate Banking Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 1, 2020. Susan Walsh/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON, Aug 17 (Reuters) - It remains unclear whether the heightened outbreak of the coronavirus Delta variant will have a noticeable impact on the economy, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Tuesday.

"COVID is still with us ... and that is likely to continue to be the case for a while," Powell said, but "people and businesses have improvised and learned to adapt. To live their lives despite COVID."

Powell spoke to a Web broadcast event with teachers and students, and much of the event involved basic information about the U.S. central bank and the importance of economics education.

But his brief comment on the recovery indicates that the increase in infections and lagging pace of vaccination hasn't undermined the Fed's view that the recovery will remain on track.

The pandemic is “still casting a shadow on economic activity. We cannot declare victory yet,” Powell said. But "many companies ... have adapted their business models to the new world," and are able to carry on.

Reporting by Howard Schneider; editing by Franklin Paul and Jonathan Oatis

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