Yellen set to testify before Senate panel on interest rates, regulation

By Nick Timiraos The Fed Dow Jones Newswires

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 12, 2017, before the House Financial Services Committee to give the semiannual monetary policy report to the Congress. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen returns to Capitol Hill Thursday for a second day of testimony on the economy, monetary policy and financial regulation, this time before the Senate Banking Committee.

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The hearing begins at 9:30 a.m. EDT, with Ms. Yellen delivering the same prepared remarks she gave Wednesday to the House Financial Services Committee.

She said Wednesday that the central bank planned to proceed with gradual interest rate increases in the coming years and is likely to start shrinking its $4.5 trillion portfolio "relatively soon" this year.

The hearing Wednesday showed how the political dynamic facing the central bank could shift with Republicans in control of the White House and with the Fed farther along in its plans to raise rates and shrink its balance sheet.

Ms. Yellen's appearance before the House panel was less contentious than prior hearings, in which Republicans have unsparingly challenged the central bank leader over everything from institutional accountability to its economic forecasts. Democrats, meanwhile, appeared less willing Wednesday to offer unconditional support for the Fed's stance toward gradually providing less support to the economy, though many extolled Ms. Yellen's leadership of the bank.

The appearances in front of both panels could be her last before her term expires in February. The White House is beginning the process of considering who should be the next Fed leader. While Ms. Yellen isn't expected to be reappointed, President Donald Trump hasn't ruled it out.

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Asked repeatedly whether she wants to serve a second term, Ms. Yellen initially demurred on Wednesday and implied she hadn't discussed the matter with the White House. Later, when asked what she would say if Mr. Trump offered her another term, she said, "It is certainly something that I would discuss with the president, obviously."

Write to Nick Timiraos at nick.timiraos@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 13, 2017 07:22 ET (11:22 GMT)

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