Janet Yellen's Fed tenure may be the calm before the storm

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In a rare move, the Federal Reserve announced Friday that it is restricting Wells Fargo's growth and demanding the replacement of four board members in response to "widespread consumer abuses and compliance breakdowns" at the bank. She picked up where her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, had left off in nurturing the country's recuperation from a crisis that almost toppled the financial system. Maximum employment is one of the two mandates Congress lays out for the Fed.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, the first woman to head the nation's central bank, is not taking any time off.

Yet after stabilizing the situation, Bernanke left Yellen a task that was in some ways just as hard, and probably more delicate, than the one he faced: how to nudge the recovery along until it was self-sustaining. She had a deep understanding of the issues, and knew it. Confident enough to feel she had nothing to prove, she then ran the Fed with quiet assurance, in a way that drew the least possible political blowback.

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"Chair Yellen has performed a great service to her country - the economy and the American people were in good hands with her at the helm of our central bank", Brookings President John Allen said in a statement.

Before becoming Fed chair in 2014, Yellen had served as the central bank's vice chair and was president of the Fed's San Francisco regional bank. The other is to manage interest rates to promote stable prices, which the Fed has defined as inflation averaging 2 per cent annually. Yellen said the economy can continue to grow.

Ms. Yellen's predecessors typically anxious most about triggering debilitating bouts of inflation of the kind the United States suffered in the 1970s.

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Hundreds of Fed staffers gathered Thursday to celebrate Yellen's Fed tenure, welcoming her with prolonged applause when she appeared in the Fed's giant atrium, according to participants at the staff gathering. Against the Euro the Dollars has lost significant ground, with the exchange rate now sitting at over a 3 year high.

With the outset of the Powell era only days away, analysts do not expect a dramatic shift from the Fed on Wednesday.

Yellen listened respectfully and stayed focused on the labor market, consulting a range of data beyond the headline unemployment rate, for subtle signs of remaining "slack".

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President Trump's target for U.S. economic growth has been 3%, but he has also spoken of his desire to see it expand at a rate as high as 6%.

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