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Fed open to further rate cuts: Powell

DENVER: US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell flagged openness to further rate cuts to fend off global economic risks, repeating that the central bank will act "as appropriate" amid an economy that he said is likely to continue to expand.

"This feels very sustainable," Mr Powell said at the annual meeting of the National Association of Business Economics.

"Clearly things are slowing a bit," he said, noting that it is normal for long expansions to have such periods.

Twice in the 1990s, he said, the economy similarly downshifted, only to gain steam once the Fed cut interest rates a few times.

The Fed's two interest rate cuts this year, in July and last month, were made in that spirit and have helped maintain a "favourable" outlook for jobs and inflation, Mr Powell said.

The US economy "may just be gathering itself - there's no reason why the expansion can't continue", he added.

Mr Powell noted recent data revisions showed less job growth in the year to March than previously estimated, turning a "booming" market into one of moderate growth.

Other recent economic data, including a possible contraction in manufacturing, add to the sense of reduced momentum.

At separate events elsewhere, two other US central bankers signalled their support for more policy easing.

"I wouldn't mind another cut. I could see it either way," Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said in Chicago.

"It would help for a little more insurance. Is it necessary and essential? I'm not sure. But I'm certainly open minded to those arguments," said Mr Evans, who supported both Fed rate cuts this year to help the Fed faster achieve its 2 per cent inflation goal.

In St Cloud, Minnesota, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said he was "generally in favour" of lower interest rates, but "I don't know how much lower they should go". - REUTERS

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