Correspondent, Chicago
Ann's Feed
Aug 24, 2015

Fed’s Lockhart sees 2015 rate hike, but reading inflation ‘tricky’

By Ann Saphir

BERKELEY, Calif. (Reuters) – A top U.S. central banker appears to have cooled to the idea of an interest rate hike next month, saying on Monday only that the Federal Reserve will likely begin raising rates “sometime this year.”

Just two weeks ago, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart told reporters he was “very disposed” to a rate hike in September.

Aug 17, 2015

Harvard’s Kaplan, once at Goldman Sachs, to head Dallas Fed

By Ann Saphir

(Reuters) – The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas on Monday picked Robert Steven Kaplan to be its next president, ending a nine-month search just as U.S. central bankers near the critical decision of when and how fast to raise interest rates.

Kaplan, a 58-year-old Harvard business school professor and former Goldman Sachs vice chairman, takes his post on Sept. 8, the Dallas Fed said in an email. He succeeds Richard Fisher, who ran the Dallas Fed for 10 years until his retirement in March. Fisher was an outspoken policy hawk.

Aug 5, 2015

U.S. small-business borrowing surges in June: PayNet

By Ann Saphir

(Reuters) – Borrowing by U.S. small businesses jumped to a record in June, an index released Wednesday showed, signaling tighter labor conditions that may help build the case for the Federal Reserve’s first interest-rate increase in nearly a decade.   

The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index rose to 143.3 in June from an upwardly revised May reading of 131. It was the highest level since the index was launched in 2005, and was up 19 percent from the level a year earlier.

Aug 4, 2015

Tech lift to productivity overlooked? The Fed doesn’t think so

By Ann Saphir

SAN FRANCISCO(Reuters) – Steve Gutmann used to have a basement that he never used. His Honda Civic sat idle in front of his Portland, Ore. house. 

Now strangers use Getaround.com to book Gutmann’s $6-an-hour car for errands and travelers stay in his newly refurbished basement apartment, listed at $115 a night on AirBnb. Gutmann and a business partner are developing a new app that lets people get more use out of their possessions.

Aug 2, 2015

Tummy tucks, country clubs tick up on Yellen’s waggish rates dashboard

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 2 (Reuters) – Janet Yellen made her
reputation as an early spotter of the looming slump seven years
ago when she highlighted some unorthodox indicators of decline
in consumer spending: tummy tucks, gourmet dining and country
club memberships.

Now she is Federal Reserve Chair, Yellen will find a much
brighter picture from her novel monitoring system as she and the
Fed board mull the first U.S. interest rate hike for nine years,
which could come as early as September.

Jul 16, 2015

Fed’s Williams vows more transparency after meeting with Fed Up

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – San Francisco Fed President John Williams has promised more transparency after a rare meeting with a coalition of community and labor groups which also urged the U.S. central banker to keep interest rates low.

Williams largely dismissed their call to hold off on interest-rate hikes, repeating his mantra that monetary policy will depend on economic data. But he said the meeting earlier this week pushed him to “think a little more proactively” about how the Fed recruits and promotes top management.

Jul 15, 2015

September ‘plausible’ timing for first rate hike: Fed’s Williams

By Ann Saphir

MESA, Ariz. (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve could start raising rates as soon as September and lift them once more before the end of the year, a top Fed official said on Wednesday.

“September would be a very plausible time to start liftoff,” San Francisco Fed President John Williams told reporters after giving a speech to the Mesa Chamber of Commerce. Inflation in his view is likely to be back up at the Fed’s 2 percent target, with a 50 percent chance of being higher than that, by the end of 2016. And the U.S. economy is likely to be at full employment “well before” that.

Jul 15, 2015

Fed’s Williams: September ‘plausible’ timing for first rate hike

, July 15 (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve could
start raising rates as soon as September and lift them once more
before the end of the year, a top Fed official said on
Wednesday.

“September would be a very plausible time to start liftoff,”
San Francisco Fed President John Williams told reporters after
giving a speech to the Mesa Chamber of Commerce. Inflation in
his view is likely to be back up at the Fed’s 2 percent target,
with a 50 percent chance of being higher than that, by the end
of 2016. And the U.S. economy is likely to be at full employment
“well before” that.

Jul 14, 2015

Yellen intensifies Republican outreach amid Fed probe, Senate bill

WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – As political pressure mounted on the Federal Reserve this spring in the form of a regulation relief bill and a probe into an alleged information leak, Fed Chair Janet Yellen kicked her congressional outreach efforts into high gear.

Yellen connected with more individual lawmakers in May than in any other month since she took on the Fed’s top role in February 2014, according to her most recent calendar disclosure, obtained through a freedom of information request.

Jul 10, 2015

Yellen says expects rate hike this year, but cites labor weakness

CLEVELAND (Reuters) – Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen on Friday said she expects the Fed to raise interest rates at some point this year, but pointed strongly to her concerns that U.S. labor markets remain weak and that more workers could be encouraged back into the job market with stronger growth.

In her speech Yellen gave no direct hint about whether she anticipates more than one rate hike over the Fed’s four remaining meetings of 2015. But her focus on domestic economic developments looked beyond recent market turbulence over Greece and China, and keeps the Fed’s plans on track.