Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen tells Congress that economic conditions are falling into place for policymakers to raise interest rates when they meet in two weeks, as long as there are no major shocks that undermine her confidence.
Yellen says that even after the first increase, rates will still be at very low levels, which should encourage more borrowing by consumers and businesses.
In testimony before the Joint Economic Committee, Yellen says further delays in a Fed rate hike could force the central bank to tighten credit too quickly later. Such an abrupt move could push the economy into a recession.
Fed policymakers meet on Dec. 15-16. The Fed’s key short-term rate has been at a record low near zero for the past seven years.