Nov. 14 - Janet Yellen, Obama's pick for the next Fed chief, strongly defended the central bank's policy of buying bonds before the Senate confirmation hearing. Fred Katayama reports.
If you liked Ben Bernanke, chances are, you'll also like Janet Yellen. President Obama's pick as the next Federal Reserve chief defended the central bank's very loose monetary policy of bond purchases at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee. SOUNDBITE: JANET YELLEN, VICE CHAIRWOMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I consider it imperative that we do what we can to promote a very strong recovery." In balanced remarks delivered in a calm demeanor, Yellen said the bond purchases couldn't last forever. But she gave no hints of when the Fed would scale back its stimulus program, saying as her boss did, that it depends on future data. Moody's Analytics chief economist John Lonsky: SOUNDBITE: JOHN LONSKY, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "She seems to be very unsatisfied with the labor market situation. Yellen believes there's significant underutilization of the labor force, that there's room for improvement on that front. And that provides the Fed with more than enough flexibility to continue to supply stimulus." The hearing didn't do anything to dispel Yellen of her dovish reputation. Republican Senator Bob Corker, who voted against her nomination as Fed vice chair, made her look like the W.C. Fields of tightening interest rates. SOUNDBITE: ENGLISH: BOB CORKER, U.S. SENATOR, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "How many rate hikes have you voted for during your tenure at the Federal Reserve?" SOUNDBITE: JANET YELLEN, VICE CHAIRWOMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "20 or more" SOUNDBITE: ENGLISH: BOB CORKER, U.S. SENATOR, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think it was maybe 27 or so. How many have you voted against?" SOUNDBITE: JANET YELLEN, VICE CHAIRWOMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "None." Yellen admitted that the stimulus may have boosted stock prices, but she didn't see a bubble in equities or real estate. Investors liked what they heard. Stocks, which were flat just before her testimony began, shot up nearly half a percent during her two-hours on the stand. Bonds also rose. Reuters Fed watcher Alister Bull says Yellen gained respect through her poised performance under the media glare. SOUNDBITE: ALISTER BULL, CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS NEWS, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Financial markets, I think, were interested to see how she stood up to that strain. Remember, she'll be the crisis manager if and presumably when the Fed has to confront the next crisis. That performance, I think, will give them some confidence she'll be calm and be able to handle it." Analysts predict she'll win confirmation, making the former economics professor the world's most powerful women in the history of finance.