The Strategist

Yellen's future in the Fed is now up in the air

08/28/2017 - 14:53

The US Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen’s speech at an annual symposium in Jackson Hole casts doubt on her future in the Fed. Economists believe that now Yellen will not get a new opportunity as a head of the US central bank.

Her monetary policy is in sharp contrast with the US President Donald Trump’s point of view. As Greg Robb writes in his column on Market Watch that Janet Yellen "sang her swan song" in Jackson Hole. In her speech, the head of the Federal Reserve precisely indicated that she firmly adheres to the policy of monetary regulation that began under the administration of Barack Obama immediately after the financial crisis. Yellen does not share opinion of Donald Trump and the Republican congressmen that "the burden of regulation is stifling lending and jamming the economy in a vice."

"Yellen's decision to protect the basic principles of regulation will strengthen positions of those in the administration who do not approve her reassignment, and probably will reduce the possibility of obtaining a second term as head of the Fed," said Krishna Guha, deputy chairman of Evercore ISI.

Prior to Yellen's speech in Jackson Hole, experts believed that Gary Kon, Trump's chief economic adviser, was the main favorite for the post of head of the Federal Reserve. At the same time, some analysts noted that the US president would unlikely be very pleased with such a successor.

The New York Times reported that White House economic adviser Gary Cohn could resign due to controversies around the US President Donald Trump’s reaction to the clashes of the far right and left in Charlottesville. According to the newspaper, Cohn wrote a letter of resignation, but did not file it. Cohn, being a Jew of religion, does not agree with Trump's remarks, which opponents of the president regarded as indulgence to the ultra-right, the newspaper wrote. Gary Cohn himself later told the Financial Times that he decided to stay in the presidential administration.

The list of other possible candidates for the post of chairman of the Federal Reserve System includes former member of the Fed’s board Kevin Warsh, economist at Stanford University John Taylor, as well as former head of the group of economic advisers of the White House, and now professor of economics at the University of Columbia Glenn Hubbard.

In late July, Donald Trump named the main candidates for the post of the Fed’s head. The US president still suggested that he could extend Janet Yellen’s term as head of the Federal Reserve or consider nomination of the National Economic Council’s head Gary Cohn for this post.

Yellen worked as deputy chairman of the Federal Reserve System from 2010 to 2014 before being appointed chairman of the Fed under former President Barack Obama.

Cohn, who previously worked as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, is part of the presidential team, which must find candidates for the post of the bank’s head. Trump said that in addition to Yellen and Cohn, there are also "two or three" people who may become the Fed’s next head of, but he did not mention any names.