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Why Fed officials aren’t addressing the Israel-Hamas war the way they did with Ukraine

today 10/19/2023
Federal Reserve officials have been notably silent about the war between Israel and Hamas, with few mentioning it unless specifically asked. This is in contrast to their swift responses and comments on the war in Ukraine last year. Fed Governor Chris Waller, in particular, did not acknowledge the tragedies unfolding in Israel in his first public appearance after the war broke out. However, there are some officials who have started to address the conflict, but only when prompted. Fed Chair Jerome Powell, in his first public remarks since the war began, acknowledged the heightened geopolitical tensions and the potential risks to global economic activity. He stated that while the conflict is horrifying, it is unlikely to influence the central bank's monetary policy decisions. Other officials, such as Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, have also made remarks about the war but only at specific events and discussions. The economic reverberations of the war are uncertain, as it could potentially escalate into a multinational conflict involving other nations like Iran, Lebanon, and Syria. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon expressed concern about the far-reaching impacts the war could have on energy and food markets, global trade, and geopolitical relationships. The potential economic implications, such as stricter embargoes on Iranian oil, are also a cause for consideration by Fed officials.
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