He added: "We're listening with sensitivity to the message that markets are sending and we're going to be taking those downside risks into account as we make policy going forward". Powell said he did not think the latter was having much impact on markets, but that the strategy would be changed if it started interfering with the bank's broader goals of maintaining strong employment and stable inflation. And I'll just say, we're listening carefully to that.
"Investors and Fed officials will certainly take some comfort from today's stellar jobs report", Oxford Economics said in a research note.
Asked if there were any plans to meet with Trump, he declined to give a specific answer, simply saying "I would say that meetings between presidents and Fed chairs do happen".
"Barring further tightening in financial conditions that would negatively impact economic activity, the very strong labor market picture support (s) our expectations that the Fed will keep a tightening bias in 2019 and hike rates twice next year". Data released earlier on Friday showed USA employers added the most workers in 10 months as wage gains accelerated.
Powell called the December jobs report "very strong" and said USA data seems "to be on track to sustain good momentum into the new year". "They can be patient".
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"We will be patient as we watch to see how the economy evolves", he said. "We don't believe our issuance is an important part of the story of the market turbulence that began in the fourth quarter previous year".
Trump, who picked Powell to head the Fed starting last February, has been intensely and publically critical of Powell's Fed and Powell personally, accusing him of hurting the economy by raising rates.
"If the president asked you to resign, would you do it?" the moderator asked Powell. Under the law that governs the Federal Reserve, a president can only remove a Fed chairman for cause. He also pledged to stay in his job even if asked to quit by President Donald Trump, who has been critical of him. The PBOC is certainly responding and hopefully they can shore up growth but so long as the trade war is raging, there isn't going to be a big turnaround.
Powell said he has no meeting scheduled with Trump.