Janet Yellen first woman to chair US Fed

Washington, J Jan 7: Janet Yellen Monday became the first woman to lead the US central bank in its century-long history.

The Senate confirmed her nomination by a 56-26 vote.

An economist, Yellen, 67, will begin her four-year term Feb 1 after current US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke demits office at the end of this month.

Yellen has long focused on fighting unemployment and backed the Fed’s recent efforts to spur the economy with low interest rates and huge bond purchases.

Over the past five years, the central bank has pumped in trillions of dollars to the economy through bond purchases to lower borrowing costs for consumers and businesses, and to boost the recovery.

President Barack Obama, who nominated Yellen in October, called her a “proven leader” and said: “She understands the human cost when people can’t find a job.”

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Yellen previously headed the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, chaired President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers and has been an economics professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

Yellen takes over as the Federal Reserve starts to reduce its bond purchases as the US economy has shown modest signs of growth in recent months.

Yellen will preside over her first Fed meetings as chair on March 18 and 19.

IANS