Biden, top financial regulators to focus on climate change at White House meeting

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President Biden is slated to meet with top financial regulators on Monday afternoon in the Oval Office, during which they are expected to discuss a spate of issues including the risks that climate change poses to the financial system.  

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Participants include Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell – marking the central bank head's first time meeting with Biden – and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, as well as the chair of of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the acting chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the acting comptroller of the Currency. 

A White House official said the meeting will cover an update on the country's financial system and institutions, including regulatory priorities such as climate-related financial risk and agency actions to promote financial inclusion and to increase access to credit. 

The meeting, which the White House announced Friday night, comes at a pivotal time for the White House as it looks to move forward with a bipartisan infrastructure package and use the budget reconciliation path to unilaterally pass Biden's two sprawling economic proposals, worth roughly $4 trillion.  

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The president has repeatedly argued that additional stimulus measures are needed to aid the economy's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and has urged Congress to pass his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan and $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan, both of which would dramatically reshape the government-funded social safety net while rebuilding the nation's crumbling infrastructure.

Republicans have warned that unprecedented levels of federal spending have already led to an inflation spike: According to Labor Department data, consumer prices rose 5% in May from a year prior, the fastest year-over-year jump since 2008. 

At the same time, job growth has been lackluster, missing Wall Street's expectations for two consecutive months. Concerns have grown recently that the labor market will be unable to return to pre-crisis levels without igniting inflation; according to estimates from the Dallas Federal Reserve, some 2.6 million people retired between February 2020 and April 2021.

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During their two-day, policy-setting meeting last week, Fed policymakers projected an interest rate hike in 2023 as they raised headline inflation expectations to 3.4% for 2021 – a full point higher than the March forecast. 

Longer-term projections show that policymakers expect inflation to settle around 2% in the future, though Powell said during a press conference after the meeting that it "could turn out to be higher and more persistent than we expect."

Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush held similar meetings with financial regulators in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks and the 2008 financial crisis.

FOX Business' Blake Burman contributed to this report 

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