Yellen: Fed chair term 'may well be' near an end

As Fed Chair Janet Yellen gets closer to the end of her term, speculation about whether she’ll be sticking around is intensifying.

At least two House members asked Yellen during her semiannual testimony Wednesday to Congress whether she expects President Donald Trump to nominate her for a second term.

Again, the central bank chief was circumspect about her future.

Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., questioned Yellen on whether she thought this would be her last testimony before Congress.

“My term expires in February, and so it may well be,” she responded. “I have not said anything about that. I intend to serve out my term.”

Yellen’s term expires in February. However, tradition is that Fed chairs usually hear around August whether they’ll be asked to stay on.

Trump has done little to address Yellen’s future. During the presidential campaign in 2016 he spoke harshly of her, accusing Yellen of orchestrating monetary policy to benefit the economy under the Obama administration.

But since then he’s been relatively mum about the central bank’s workings.

Earlier in the session, Yellen tried to brush off questions about whether she will be asked to stay.

“What I previously said is that I absolutely intend to serve out my term,” she responded to a question from Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y. “I’m very focused on trying to achieve our congressionally mandated objectives and I really haven’t had to give further thought at this point to this question.”

Chatter about Yellen’s future renewed Tuesday when Politico reiterated that Trump economic advisor Gary Cohn is on tap to succeed Yellen if he wants the job. CNBC first reported the story in April that Cohn, the former COO of Goldman Sachs, would like the job and was under serious consideration.

Other potential Yellen replacements frequently mentioned are former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh and FDIC Vice Chair Thomas Hoenig.

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