WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is expected to face pointed questions this week from US lawmakers aimed at revealing details about the Fed’s timing on interest rate hikes, as well as fresh scrutiny about transparency at the central bank.
Yellen will likely give away little in her prepared testimony for the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, and the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. But her answers to lawmakers’ questions will be parsed for insight into the her thinking about issues like persistently weak inflation, stagnant wage growth and whether she still feels the nation’s falling unemployment rate disguises lingering ills in the labour market.
Yellen’s appearance before the Senate will be a key test of her ability to navigate the new Republican-controlled Congress while steering the Fed to a historic change in policy expected later this year.
The Fed has not raised interest rates since 2006, and for the last seven years has expanded the boundaries of central bank activism with more than $3 trillion in asset purchases and near-zero interest rates.