US Treasury chief makes Fed play

Business | Reuters and Dominique Nguy 13 Oct 2017

United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is said to be backing Federal Reserve governor Jerome Powell to be the next chairman of the US central bank.

News service Politico reported it had been told by an administration insider that Mnuchin had privately recommended Powell to President Donald Trump because he is considered a person over whom "some measure of influence" could be exerted.

But Trump had still to decide on who would get the call from four known candidates: current chair Janet Yellen; Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council; Kevin Warsh, a former Fed governor; and Powell. A decision could be weeks away.

Powell told a gathering of bankers, lawyers and investors last week that more rules and regulations are not always the best solution to problems in financial markets.

Regulations require banks "to hold large amounts of high-quality liquid assets so that they can safely meet their potential liquidity needs," said Powell, who has backed the Fed's tough approach to safeguarding the financial system in the wake of the 2007-2009 crisis.

But "regulation should always take into account the impact that it has on markets - a balance that must be constantly weighed," Powell added.

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