Fed plans to boost in­ter­est rates soon

Yellen cites eco­nomic im­prove­ments, hints at faster pace of hikes.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - Fed

Fed­eral Re­serve Chair Janet Yellen sig­naled Fri­day that the cen­tral bank likely will start rais­ing rates later this month.

Fed­eral Re­serve Chair Janet Yellen sig­naled Fri­day that the Fed will likely re­sume rais­ing in­ter­est rates later this month to re­flect a strength­en­ing job mar­ket and in­fla­tion edg­ing to­ward the cen­tral bank’s 2 per­cent tar­get.

Yellen also said in a speech in Chicago that the Fed ex­pects steady eco­nomic im­prove­ment to jus­tify ad­di­tional rate in­creases. While not spec­i­fy­ing how many rate hikes could oc­cur this year, Yellen noted that Fed of­fi­cials in De­cem­ber had es­ti­mated that there would be three in 2017.

Yellen’s sig­nal of a likely rate hike this month re­flects an en­cour­ag­ing con­clu­sion by the Fed: That nearly eight years after the re­ces­sion of­fi­cially ended, the U.S. econ­omy has fi­nally re­gained most of its health.

At a sep­a­rate ap­pear­ance Fri­day in New York, Vice Chair Stan­ley Fis­cher added his voice to a series of Fed of­fi­cials who have in­di­cated this week that they would likely fa­vor rais­ing rates at the Fed’s next meet­ing March 14-15.

Asked whether there had been a con­scious ef­fort by Fed of­fi­cials to sig­nal a prob­a­ble rate hike at that meet­ing, Fis­cher said, “If there has been a con­scious ef­fort, I’m about to join it.”

Many economists now say that bar­ring an un­ex­pect­edly dis­as­trous monthly jobs re­port next Fri­day, a Fed rate in­crease this month ap­pears cer­tain.

“The Fed will hike un­less

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