Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said he won't resign if asked by President Donald Trump, who has criticized the central bank for raising U.S. interest rates too quickly.
Powell, who was Trump's own appointee to lead the Fed, made the comment during a panel discussion hosted by the American Economic Association. He said he had not communicated directly with the president over the matter, and that there are no meetings scheduled, though Powell said he would be open to meeting with Trump.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose as much as 679 points, or 3%, as Powell was speaking.
As recently as Dec. 24, Trump used a golf analogy to denigrate Powell, comparing him with a bad putter.
The Fed will set monetary policy "in a completely non-political way," Powell said. "I would want the public to be assured that we have a strong culture."
Trump has complained that the Fed's rate increases last year sapped the economic momentum created by his $1.5 trillion of tax cuts enacted in late 2017.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index of large U.S. stock tumbled 6.2% last year, the most in a decade, at least partly on concern that the Fed's increases in borrowing costs since late 2015 might stymie economic activity by businesses and consumers.
In December, the Fed raised its benchmark rate by 0.25 percentage point to a range between 2.25% and 2.5% -- despite tweets by Trump warning that such a move would be a mistake.