Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is sketching a picture of a U.S. economy that's still not at full health but is showing enough gains in hiring and growth to raise expectations of a Fed interest rate hike in December.
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In prepared testimony to a congressional committee, Yellen says the Fed at its meeting this month thought the case for boosting its benchmark rate had strengthened and that a rate hike "could well become appropriate relatively soon."
Yellen notes that the job market has continued to show improvement this year and that inflation, though still below the Fed's 2 percent target, has started to pick up. Most investors and economists expect the Fed to boost rates at its next meeting in mid-December, and Yellen's prepared testimony notes that there are risks of further delaying a rate increase.