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Yellen Says Rate Rise Likely in 2015 as Job Market Improves

Bloomberg (07/15/15) Christopher Condon; Craig Torres

U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday that prospects are good for further improvement in the labor market and the economy, keeping the central bank on track for an interest-rate increase in 2015. Yellen delivered her remarks before the House Financial Services Committee. She again emphasized that the timing of the first rate rise hike in nearly a decade is less important than the subsequent path of increases, which she said would be gradual. Yellen added that central bank forecasts for higher rates this year are projections and “not statements of intent to raise rates at any particular time.”

Forecasts issued by the Federal Open Market Committee in June implied two quarter-point rate rises this year, followed by a shallower path of increases than officials predicted in March. The forecasts were included in a Monetary Policy Report released by the Fed Board along with her testimony. While the median forecast of policy makers called for two increases by year-end, a larger number of officials said just one would be enough. The Fed is likely to make its first move in September, according to 76% of 51 economists surveyed by Bloomberg from July 2 to July 8.