The Federal Reserve could raise U.S. interest rates ''relatively soon'' if economic data keeps pointing to an improving job market and rising inflation, says Fed Chair Janet Yellen. Bobbi Rebell reports.
The December Fed meeting is still very much on track for a rate hike, according to Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who spoke on Capitol Hill on Thursday. (SOUNDBITE) JANET YELLEN, CHAIR OF THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "At our meeting earlier this month, the Committee judged that the case for an increase in the target range had continued to strengthen and that such an increase could well become appropriate relatively soon if incoming data provide some further evidence of continued progress toward the Committee's objectives." Recent economic data - including first-time jobless claims dropping to a 43-year low last week, a surge in housing starts, and uptick in inflation - underscored Yellen's upbeat assessment about the US economy. Kevin Kelly of Recon Capital says the time is now. (SOUNDBITE) KEVIN R. KELLY, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER & MANAGING PARTNER, RECON CAPITAL PARTNERS, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "There needs to be a Fed rate hike coming, especially given all the economic data that's there as well as the market, which are leading indicators that are dictating the price action of not only interest rates, but also stocks." This was Yellen's first public appearance since the election of Donald Trump as the next president. She said the Fed is ready to adjust its outlook as the new administration takes shape, and was clear that she intends to serve out her term, which ends in 2018.