Yellen Avoids Specifying a Timetable for Interest-Rate Increase

Six months, Dr. Yellen? Not today, thank you.

On March 19, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen responded to an invitation from a reporter to specify when the Fed might start raising its main interest rate by saying it could happen about six months after asset purchases end.

Today, when Representative Kevin Brady of Texas repeatedly tried to pin her down on a date, Yellen was having none of it.

“There is no mechanical formula or timetable for when that will occur,” Yellen said during testimony to the Joint Economic Committee, which is headed by Brady, a Republican.

Yellen instead referred to the Federal Open Market Committee’s March and April statements that the rate is likely to remain near zero for a “considerable time” after the end of the quantitative easing program.

Treasury yields jumped in March when Yellen offered the six-month timetable.

The Fed that month dropped a pledge to keep the main interest rate low as long as unemployment remained above 6.5 percent. Instead, the FOMC said officials will consider “a wide range of information” to determine how long to keep the rate near zero, where it has been since December 2008.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aki Ito in San Francisco at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Wellisz at Vince Golle

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