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Fed chair Jay Powell: "I don't see a recession" in 2019

Trump slams Fed, denies climate science

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said he doesn't see a U.S. recession in the near future, despite the rising likelihood of slowing growth elsewhere around the globe. He also said he would "be patient" as the central bank determines when to hike interest rates next.

Speaking to an audience in Washington, D.C, Powell delivered the same reassuring message that bolstered markets last Friday.

"I don't see a recession," he told a gathering of the Economic Club of Washington. "The U.S. economy is solid. The principal worry we have is global growth" in Asia, Europe and elsewhere. "It's a tightly integrated economy and financial markets will see the effects of that," he said.

He also said that the Fed had no preset path for rate hikes and would be "patient" when determining whether to hike interest rates further in response to strong U.S. growth that risks sparking inflation, or to pause rate hikes to account for a global economic slowdown.

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"Particularly with inflation low and under control, we have the ability to be patient and see which of those two narratives is going to be the story of 2019," he said.

Before those comments, investors had been sending stocks lower out of fears that the Fed would make a mistake and tighten credit too much, possibly sending the economy into a recession. Stocks were set to close Thursday up slightly, about 0.3%, with the Dow Jones industrials average rising about 73 points to 23,952.

Powell also reiterated that the sharp attacks President Donald Trump has made criticizing the Fed's four rate hikes last year were not having any impact on Fed decisions.

-- CBS News' Irina Ivanova contributed reporting.