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Yellen Signals Fed on Track to Raise Rates in December

Wall Street Journal (12/02/15) Jon Hilsenrath; David Harrison

Janet Yellen, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, has signaled that she is ready to raise short-term interest rates this month, barring a surprise that shakes her confidence in the economy. She also suggested that there is dissension among officials, which could complicate moves to raise rates. In addition to some regional Fed bank presidents, two Fed governors have expressed hesitance about raising rates, though the consensus appears to be against them. Yellen says she does not need unanimity, and that the Fed will have to tolerate some dissent.

The Fed has said it would raise its benchmark federal-funds rate from near-zero after it saw further improvement in the job market and became reasonably confident inflation would rise toward the 2% target. Yellen yesterday described an economic backdrop fitting the desired parameters, suggesting she is leaning toward lifting rates soon. She also warned that delaying a rate increase could hurt the economy.