Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is holding her press conference following the two-day policy meeting in Washington.
The Fed’s statement, released earlier on Wednesday, showed that it kept rates unchanged, and thought that the case for a rate hike this year had strengthened.
“Our decision does not reflect a lack of confidence in the economy,” Yellen said.
Yellen noted that consumers have supported the economy, helped by an improving job market and higher incomes.
She said FOMC members were motivated to lower their forecasts for GDP after the economy grew slower than expected in the first half of the year.
“The committee agrees that risks to the outlook have become roughly balanced,” she said, adding that the economy has more room to run than previously thought. But a gradual pace of rate hikes would be appropriate to avoid overheating the economy and “significantly” overshooting the 2% inflation target,” Yellen said.
Three FOMC members thought the Fed should have raised rates at this meeting.
A reporter asked Yellen about comment from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump suggesting that the Fed is keeping rates artificially low to support President Barack Obama through the end of his term.
“We do not discuss politics at our meetings, and we do not take politics into account in our decisions,” Yellen responded. And, you will not find any evidence of political motivation when the meeting transcripts are released in five years, she said.
On the markets, Yellen said that while financial-asset values are not out of line with historical norms, “of course we are worried that bubbles could form in the economy.” She singled out commercial real estate as something that has caught the Fed’s attention.
She declined to answer a question on the impact of tarrifs on the economy.