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Now that he’s not attending global meetings in person, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell appreciates how vital they are to business relationships and decisions. Powell made that point at the Economic Club of New York last week, where he spoke about the state of the U.S. labor market. Coordinating global economic policy is more challenging now that Covid-19 has prevented him spending time with his international counterparts.
“Until I became chair, I didn't realize how much of the job is invested in developing relationships and being in regular communication with other central bankers and policymakers around the world,” he said. Pre-Covid, the world’s financial leaders met in Basel about six times a year for three or four days, during which time they had one-on-one discussions and gathered in small and large groups. “It’s extremely useful to hear from other central bankers what really is happening, what really are their concerns, and it does inform our understanding of what may happen with our economy,” he noted.
He relies on those curated relationships now via phone calls and virtual meetings. “Because you have stored up an amount of goodwill and knowledge of each other, we're talking and it's still effective, I would say, but it's not the same. You can have the Basel meetings on the telephone, but you won't be having lunch and seeing each other in the halls for three days. Those activities really do help us do our jobs, which makes us better in serving the American public.”
Watch the video clip here.