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Dec 30, 2013

U.S. pending home sales end slide, hint at stabilization

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Contracts to purchase previously owned U.S. homes edged up in November, marking the first increase in six months and providing a hopeful sign the sector has begun to stabilize after its momentum was sapped by rising mortgage rates.

The National Association of Realtors said on Monday its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month, rose 0.2 percent from October, to 101.7. But contracts were 1.6 percent below last November’s levels.

Dec 23, 2013

Fed hawks back taper decision, one urges bolder action

By Steven C. Johnson and Alister Bull

(Reuters) – Two of the Federal Reserve’s most outspoken policy hawks voiced support on Monday for the U.S. central bank’s decision to start scaling back its bond-buying program, though one argued for bolder action.

Jeffrey Lacker, president of the Richmond Federal Reserve, and Dallas Fed chief Richard Fisher, long-standing critics of the Fed’s ultra-easy monetary policy, both said the taper was justified and pointed to recent encouraging signals from the U.S. economy.

Dec 20, 2013

Factbox: The ins and outs of Yellen’s ‘optimal control’ policy path

By Alister Bull

(Reuters) – Janet Yellen owes part of her dovish reputation to her embrace of an “optimal control” policy approach that tolerates inflation temporarily overshooting the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent goal, in return for a quicker decline in U.S. unemployment.

Investors are likely to weigh more carefully what such an approach might mean for U.S. monetary policy now that she has moved closer to winning Senate confirmation to succeed Ben Bernanke at the helm of the central bank. Her nomination cleared a procedural hurdle on Friday, putting it on track for a final confirming vote on January 6.

Dec 20, 2013

The ins and outs of Yellen’s ‘optimal control’ policy path

Dec 20 (Reuters) – Janet Yellen owes part of her dovish
reputation to her embrace of an “optimal control” policy
approach that tolerates inflation temporarily overshooting the
Federal Reserve’s 2 percent goal, in return for a quicker
decline in U.S. unemployment.

Investors are likely to weigh more carefully what such an
approach might mean for U.S. monetary policy now that she has
moved closer to winning Senate confirmation to succeed Ben
Bernanke at the helm of the central bank. Her nomination cleared
a procedural hurdle on Friday, putting it on track for a final
confirming vote on Jan. 6.

Nov 21, 2013

Yellen takes big step toward becoming next Fed chair

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen moved closer on Thursday to becoming the first woman to lead the U.S. central bank after a Senate committee approved her nomination and sent it to the full Senate for a final vote.

If confirmed, as is widely expected, Yellen would replace Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke when his term expires on January 31 and become the most powerful woman in world finance.

Nov 21, 2013

Yellen clears first Senate hurdle to become next Fed chair

WASHINGTON, Nov 21 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate Banking
Committee on Thursday approved Janet Yellen’s nomination to
become the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve, sending it
to the full Senate for a final vote.

If she is confirmed, as is widely expected, the current No.
2 at the U.S. central bank will replace its chairman, Ben
Bernanke, when his term expires on Jan. 31, making her the most
powerful woman in world finance.

Nov 21, 2013

Yellen set to move closer to confirmation as next Fed chair

WASHINGTON, Nov 21 (Reuters) – Janet Yellen will take an
important step on Thursday toward becoming the first woman to
lead the U.S. Federal Reserve, with the Senate Banking Committee
expected to back the nomination and clear her path to take the
central bank’s helm.

President Barack Obama nominated the Fed’s current vice
chair to replace Ben Bernanke when his terms ends on Jan. 31 and
she had been expected to win confirmation with relative ease.

Nov 20, 2013

Fed officials felt taper may happen at next few meetings: minutes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal Reserve officials felt they could decide to start scaling back the U.S. central bank’s massive asset-purchase program at one of its next few meetings provided this was warranted by economic growth.

Minutes of the Fed’s October 29-30 policy meeting, released on Wednesday, also showed officials discussed how to distinguish between asset buying and forward interest rates guidance, including how to enhance rate guidance once they start to taper bond purchases.

Nov 20, 2013

Bernanke: Fed committed to easy policy for as long as needed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Tuesday the Fed will maintain ultra-easy U.S. monetary policy for as long as needed and will only begin to taper bond buying once it is assured that labor market improvements would continue.

In a speech to the National Economists Club that echoed dovish comments by his nominated successor, Janet Yellen, Bernanke also said that while the economy had made significant progress, it was still far from where officials wanted it to be.

Nov 17, 2013

What Yellen didn’t tell Congress and why it matters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The most revealing thing about Janet Yellen’s widely praised Senate confirmation hearing performance last week might not have been what she said, but what she didn’t say – and how she didn’t say it.

President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the next chair of the Federal Reserve smiled and nodded her way through a two-hour hearing on Thursday without giving the Senate Banking Committee any real clues as to how she views near-term monetary policy choices.

    • About Alister

      "White House Correspondent. Based in the United States for six years covering the economy and Federal Reserve before moving to the White House beat. Previously reported for Reuters from Germany, South Africa, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Iraq."
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