Friday 17 November 2017

US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen seen by medical team after ending speech early, sees interest rate hike this year

Telegraph staff and agencies

Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen was seen by medical staff after being helped from the stage during a speech on the US economy.

The head of the US central bank said she felt dehydrated at the end of a speech she was giving at the University of Massachusetts and was seen by medical personnel as a precaution.

Ms Yellen was delivering a 23-page speech on inflation when she paused for a period of time, coughed and stopped to recompose herself. She then resumed speaking, saying: "I think I will end here." She was helped from the stage.

The Fed said Ms Yellen "felt dehydrated at the end of a long speech under bright lights" and "as a precaution, she was seen by (emergency) staff on-site".

The Fed said that after being checked Ms Yellen "felt fine afterward and has continued with her schedule".

 In the speech, Ms Yellen said she still expected to increase interest rates this year and that concerns about weaker global growth likely will not affect that plan.

She added that improvements in the US economy "will likely entail an initial increase in the federal funds rate later this year".

Policymakers will continue to monitor weaker activity overseas, she said, but the impact will probably not be "large enough to have a significant effect on the path for policy".

Ms Yellen's remarks came a week after the US central bank opted at a widely anticipated meeting against enacting the first rate hike since the financial crisis of 2008.

Following the September 17 meeting, Ms Yellen told a press conference that the committee decided to hold off due to worries about slowing growth in China and capital flight from emerging markets.

But in Thursday night's speech, Ms Yellen said policymakers were still "monitoring developments abroad" but did not think they would derail the US economy.

"Prospects for the US economy generally appear solid," she said, citing monthly job gains averaging round 210,000 and other data showing the economy has been expanding.

"My colleagues and I, based on our most recent forecasts, anticipate that this pattern will continue and that labour market conditions will improve further as we head into 2016."

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