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« The Fed’s Alice In Wonderland Economy - What Happens Next? | Main | The Bull Market is Over »
Thursday
Sep242015

Janet Yellen Says Fed Interest Rate Increase Still Likely This Year

Fed chief says ‘gradual pace of tightening’ expected to follow first rate hike

AMHERST, Mass.—Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen laid out her most detailed case yet for the central bank to begin raising short-term interest rates later this year, effectively lobbing a warning to financial markets that the central bank’s decision to keep rates near zero last week wasn’t a shift toward an interminable delay of monetary tightening.

Ms. Yellen made her case like a prosecutor making a courtroom closing argument. She presented it in a 40-page speech at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, including 40 academic citations, 35 footnotes, nine graphs and an appendix.

Central to her argument was a belief that slack in the economy has diminished to a point where inflation pressures should start to gradually build in the coming years.

Those pressures aren’t asserting themselves yet, she argued, because a strong dollar and falling oil and import prices are placing temporary downward pressure on consumer prices. As those headwinds diminish, she predicted, inflation will gradually rise. The Fed needs to get in front of this, she said, and also prevent speculative forces in financial markets that could lead to “inappropriate risk-taking that might undermine financial stability.”

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