Sly Young Man With Long Nose Talking On Mobile Phone

In January, U.S. Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell had a phone conversation with a man he believed—incorrectly—to be Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.

Instead, he was talking to a Russian prankster.

During the call, of which ZeroHedge obtained an audio copy, Powell said the Fed planned to raise rates two more times this year. 

“The market is already pricing in two more quarter percentage point rate hikes,” Powell said. “After we make those two, we’ll say…’should we do any more?’”

“Then the question will be, how long do we keep rates at this level?,” he added. “I think we’ll keep them there for quite some time.” 

The Fed added a quarter point to its key rates in February and again in March. It has signaled another quarter-point nudge at its meeting this week but has been mum about its plans beyond that.

Markets have been betting the central bank will pause its hikes after this month.

Powell went on to predict that the U.S. economy will grow “at a subdued level” this year and that a recession is “almost as likely as very slow growth.”

Powell blamed the slowdown on the Fed’s higher interest rates, which he maintained was essential to beating back inflation.

“What we need is a period of slower growth so the economy can cool off so that the labor market can cool off, wages can cool off,” he told the fake Zelensky. 

“That’s the only way we know to bring inflation down,” Powell said. “It can be painful, but we don’t know of any painless way for inflation to come down.”

The prankster was one of a pair of Russian hoaxers known for their similar calls to other world leaders. They usually release audio copies of the calls in hopes of embarrassing the leaders they tricked.

The Russians have pranked Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank, who also thought she was talking with Zelensky; and they persuaded Polish president Andrzej Duda that he was conversing with Emanuel Macron, his counterpart in France.

Powell’s chat with the impersonator was “friendly,” a Powell spokesperson said in a statement, “and took place in a context of our standing in support of the Ukrainian people. No sensitive or confidential information was discussed.”

TRENDPOST: As we have noted, rather than blaming the Federal Reserve and Washington for rising inflation due to zero interest rate policy and trillions of dollars of cheap money pumped into the economy and equities to fight the COVID War, Powell and the mainstream media blame rising wages of the plantation workers of Slavelandia. Thus, their line that interest rates are up “so that the labor market can cool off, wages can cool off.”

But as we have noted, and as reported today by statista, in April, “inflation amounted to 4.2 percent, while wages grew by 3.2 percent.” And when the real inflation numbers are added up as per shadowstats, the inflation rate is closer to 10 percent annually which means it is costing people a lot more money to buy a lot less products.

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