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Live blog and video of Yellen's testimony before House panel

14 July 2017

The Kiwi was the best performer of the G10 currencies overnight as the market further digests Fed Chair Yellen's comments from early Thursday morning. The pound rose 0.3% to $1.2880 as the European session was about to close.

Yelle noted the economy added 180,000 jobs per month during the first half of this year - almost the same pace as last year's first half. Unemployment was 4.4 percent in June and employers have added 187,000 jobs a month on average over the past 12 months.

Signs of a pickup in United States inflation could reinforce views that the Fed would hike interest rates again sooner rather than later, which would lift Treasury yields and the dollar.

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In the United Kingdom, divergence of opinions on the country's monetary policy is remerging as Bank of England member Ian McCafferty expressed a stronger hawkish take.

Looking ahead, Yellen expects a strong economy. In short, it doesn't seem like she is convinced that inflation will rise high enough to make hiking interest rates an urgent priority (paywall). She said job gains were above the bank's estimate and that the economy picked up in the second quarter on a rebound in household spending and stronger overseas demand helping U.S. manufacturers.

Given current estimates, the federal funds rate "would not have to rise all that much further" to reach a neutral level that neither encourages nor discourages economic activity, Yellen said in her prepared testimony.

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The Bank of Canada's increase is the first by a G10 central bank outside the Fed since the Reserve Bank of New Zealand raised rates three years ago.

"The Fed said it would alter its plan if weak inflation persisted so her comments were taken as being dovish in nature rather than hawkish", said James McGlew, executive director of corporate stock broking for Argonaut in Perth. Like many central banks, the Fed dramatically increased the size of its balance sheet as a result of the financial crisis, embarking on a quantitative easing programme.

"Provided the economy evolves broadly as anticipated, it will likely begin to implement the program this year", said Yellen in her testimony referring to the balance sheet reduction. Several officials believe the Fed likely will maintain a portfolio to exceed $2 trillion. Later, when asked what she would say if Mr. Trump offered her another term, she said, "It is certainly something that I would discuss with the president, obviously".

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"It is premature to conclude the underlying inflation trend is falling well short of 2 percent", Yellen told the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday in Washington.

Live blog and video of Yellen's testimony before House panel