Global stocks gain as Fed shows confidence in rate hikes


"Fiscal policy may matter or not" for the Fed's next rate hike decision, she said.

"At the upcoming meetings, the Fed would depend heavily on USA economic data to determine if the labor market continues to strengthen and inflation is moving up to the central bank's 2% target", Yellen said.

Mr Hensarling is planning regulatory reforms that include congressional audits of interest rate policy when the Fed disregards policy rules, a measure Ms Yellen said she opposes as an intrusion on the central bank's independence.

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"After eight years, there is zero evidence that zero interest rates and a bloated Fed balance sheet lead to a healthy economy", House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) told Yellen.

In a recent speech, Yellen hewed to a middle-ground position, saying she doesn't want to run a "hot economy" that invites runaway inflation by keeping rates low too long, but advocates raising rates gradually to avoid derailing the recovery.

Fed officials predicted in December that the central bank would raise its benchmark rate three times during 2017, lifting the rate from its current range between 0.5 percent and 0.75 percent to a range of 1.25 percent to 1.5 percent.

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These readings had been one of the most positive economic indicators since Trump's election win. This was the best reading for the index over the last two years.

Yellen said the Fed will continue to monitor and evaluate employment and inflation, and decide whether they are in line with the bank's expectations, before making a rate hike. If that were to happen, the central bank could decide to accelerate its rate hikes. Her testimony before a Senate committee Tuesday (and a House panel Wednesday) could clarify the outlook. Yellen has been a staunch defender of the law. And the Fed said it had become more confident that inflation will reach its 2 percent target. She is likely to face questions about a key Republican priority: To undo much of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory law, which was meant to curb the kind of excessive risk taking in the banking system that fueled the 2008 financial crisis.

Goldman Sachs bankers, however, are more cautious regarding USA growth prospects.

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That will give Trump three vacancies to fill on the seven-member board, a fact that GOP lawmakers said should bring welcome changes in policy.