Yellen speech raises likelihood of an imminent Fed rate hike

Analysts believe that it will come in December...

Yellen speech raises likelihood of an imminent Fed rate hike

Susan Walsh / AP

Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen has raised expectations of an imminent interest rate hike in the US following a speech at a three-day gathering of central bankers in Wyoming.

She said that employment data and growth expectations have strengthened the case for a rate increase.

"US economy was nearing the Federal Reserve’s statutory goals of maximum employment and price stability," she told the audience. The Fed's Open Market Committee has three meetings left in 2016, in September, November, and December.

"In light of the continued solid performance of the labor market and our outlook for economic activity and inflation, I believe the case for an increase in the federal funds rate has strengthened in recent months," she continued.

Ms Yellen added that future rate hikes should be "gradual."

CME Group’s FedWatch tool believes that there is a 53% chance of a hike occurring in December, compared to an 18% chance of it happening after the September meeting.

The chairwoman spent the majority of her speech outlining about how the Fed is likely to respond to future recessions, and how an aging population is likely to lead to a broad slowdown in economic growth in the longer-term.