Yellen Withdraws From ECB’s Sintra Forum to Return to Washington

  • Fed says Yellen will not be appearing at event as scheduled
  • Yellen was slotted to appear Wednesday on panel with Draghi

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has pulled out of the European Central Bank’s forum on central banking in Sintra, Portugal, this week, the Fed said Monday, without offering an explanation for her reason to withdraw.

Her schedule change comes as global financial markets continue to suffer the aftershocks of the U.K.’s vote on Thursday to leave the European Union, with the pound extending its record decline and European equities dropping to levels last seen in February.

Yellen, who was in Europe over the weekend attending the annual general meeting of the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, was originally slotted to appear on Wednesday on a panel alongside ECB President Mario Draghi and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney. Carney withdrew on Sunday.

Yellen will not be participating in the Wednesday policy panel at the ECB conference as was originally scheduled and will instead return to Washington following the BIS meeting, a Fed spokesman said. That meeting concluded Sunday.

“It’s natural to conclude that she doesn’t want to get caught on a plane if something crazy happens,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities LLC in New York.

More than $2.5 trillion was wiped from global equity values on Friday as investors reacted in dismay to the vote. Prime Minister David Cameron announced his plan to step down by October, and several members of the opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s team quit amid calls for his ouster, adding to the sense of political instability in London.

Financial leaders including International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde and U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew have said that the market reaction to Brexit had been orderly so far and that central banks have worked effectively to protect liquidity in the system.

What happens next “is going to depend on certainty or uncertainty, predictability or lack of predictability -- people going in a risk-off mode or considering that the situation is going to settle back," Lagarde said Sunday in Colorado.

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