Tuesday, 11 December, 2018


Yellen: The National Debt 'Should Keep People Awake at Night'

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies on the U.S. economic outlook before the Congressional Joint Economic Committee on Capitol Hill Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies on the U.S. economic outlook before the Congressional Joint Economic Committee on Capitol Hill
Conrad Doyle | 29 November, 2017, 23:27

U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told Congress on November 29 that economic growth has picked up this year, though wage growth remains relatively modest and inflation is still short of the central bank's 2 percent target.

"17 million more Americans are employed now than eight years ago", Yellen, who became a top Fed official in 2010, said in prepared remarks. The Fed slashed rates to 0% in 2008 in an effort to boost the collapsed housing market and economy.

In Wednesday's prepared testimony to the Joint Economic Committee, Ms. Yellen repeated her view that recent low readings in consumer price growth "likely reflect transitory factors" and that as those factors fade, inflation will stabilize around the 2% target. Some policymakers feel the Fed should not raise rates until inflation accelerates.

Crude oil futures fell Wedesday despite data showing another signficant decline in US oil stockpiles. 1 meeting showed that while the officials generally agreed that it would soon be time for another rate increase, they were struggling to understand what was happening with inflation.

Yellen, as has been her style over four years, turned even basic queries into disquisitions on the underlying dynamics of inflation and the labor force.

WASHINGTON-Economic activity expanded at a "modest to moderate pace" in recent weeks amid signs of rising prices and ongoing strength in labor markets, a Federal Reserve report said Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Yellen added that the unemployment rate fell to 4.1%, the lowest level since 2000, and well below the peak of unemployment, 10%, in 2009.

In what is likely her final address Wednesday on Capitol Hill as head of the central bank, Yellen gave mostly positive reviews to economic performance.

Excluding energy and food categories, the Fed's preferred inflation gauge rose 1.3% in September from a year earlier, below the central bank's 2% target. "Although asset valuations are high by historical standards, overall vulnerabilities in the financial sector appear moderate, as the banking system is well capitalised and broad measures of leverage and credit growth remain contained", she said.

Asked whether the Fed would raise interest rates at its meeting next month, Yellen declined to offer clues about her preference, saying only that it's important the central bank maintain a gradual approach to tightening to prevent the economy from overheating.

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