Feb. 27 - Fed Chair Janet Yellen asserted her own policies in her appearance before the Senate, making it clear she would make changes as needed now that she was in charge. Bobbi Rebell reports.
There's a new Fed Chair in town- and Janet Yellen used Thursday's Senate testimony as an opportunity to assert her take on the central bank's policies, and how she plans to move forward- Distancing her Fed from the perception that rates would rise when the jobless rate hits 6.5 percent. It's currently at 6.6 percent. The big buzzword- qualitative guidance. SOUNDBITE: JANET YELLEN, CHAIR, U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The unemployment rate is not a sufficient statistic for the state of the labor market. There is no hard and fast rule about what unemployment rate constitutes full employment and we need to consider a broad range of indicators. Many members of the committee have emphasized this point and it's one I agree with. It moves in the direction of qualitative guidance. On the other hand we do want to give markets as much of an indication of how we expect to conduct policy as we can." As was expected, Yellen testified that the Fed would watch to make sure the weather was a key factor in the slowing down of economic growth. Oppenheimer Funds Senior Economist Brian Levitt: SOUNDBITE: BRIAN LEVITT, SENIOR ECONOMIST, OPPENHEIMER FUNDS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "When you have a foot of snow you don't go to the mall that is quite simple or you don't build a home that's quite simple but the reality is this economy should be able to withstand what we saw these last few months and economic conditions and economic momentum is likely to improve as we head into the spring and beyond." And assuming that improving trend stays on track, the Fed Chair confirmed the central bank's plans to keep its stimulus trimming policy and end the bond buying program by the fall- unless things change: SOUNDBITE: JANET YELLEN, CHAIR, U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Asset purchases are not on a pre-set course. So if there is a significant change in the outlook certainly we would be open to reconsidering but I wouldn't want to jump to conclusions here." Yellen was asked a lot about regulation- said she wants to ramp up the Fed's participation in major bank enforcement policy decisions, such as voting on settlement deals in bank related issues like foreclosure abuse.