Janet Yellen confirmed as new Federal Reserve chair

The US Senate yesterday confirmed Janet Yellen as the next chair of the Federal Reserve, to succeed Ben Bernanke on February 1.

Ms Yellen was approved as the first female chair of the Fed by a vote of 56 to 26, one of the lowest levels of support for such a position, although the Financial Times reports that a number of senators were unable to make the vote due to travel problems.

Ms Yellen, currently Mr Bernanke’s deputy, will oversee the gradual reduction in the Fed’s quantitative easing that was set out last month and is set to take most of 2014 to play out.

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The US’s central bank has been pumping $85bn a month into its economy since September 2012 and has expanded its balance sheet by more than $4trn since the onset of the financial crisis through asset purchases in a bid to kickstart financial markets and economic growth.