When Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, appears before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday, he will be testifying at a fraught moment both politically and economically, given the recent rise in inflation.
The Consumer Price Index jumped 5.4 percent in June from a year earlier, the biggest increase since 2008 and a larger move than economists had expected. Price pressures appear poised to last longer than policymakers at the White House or Fed anticipated.
In testimony on Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee, Mr. Powell attributed rapid price gains to factors tied to the economy’s reopening from the pandemic, and indicated in response to questioning that Fed officials expected inflation to begin calming in six months or so.
He acknowledged that “the incoming inflation data have been higher than expected and hoped for,” but he said the gains were coming from a “small group” of goods and services directly tied to reopening.