By CHRISTOPHER RUGABER
AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell took a sharp and unexpected turn Tuesday toward tightening credit for consumers and businesses in the face of mounting concerns about high inflation. Powell signaled that the Fed will likely act more quickly to phase out its ultra-low-interest rate policies even as the emergence of the new omicron variant of COVID-19 has raised fresh doubts about both the strength of the economy and the direction of inflation. The Fed chair told the Senate Banking Committee that the central bank’s policymakers will discuss at their next meeting in mid-December whether to accelerate the reduction of their bond purchases, which have been intended to lower long-term borrowing costs.