Yellen signals continuity with Bernanke indicates steady pullback in Fed stimulus is

FILE – In this Nov. 14, 2013, file photo, Federal Reserve Board Chair nominee Janet Yellen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Banking Committee hearing on her nomination. Yellen will deliver the Fed’s twice-annual report to Congress, starting Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 before the House Financial Services Committee and then Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, before the Senate Banking Committee. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File) by Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press Posted Feb 10, 2014 10:45 pm MDT Yellen signals continuity with Bernanke; indicates steady pullback in Fed stimulus is likely AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen sought Tuesday to reassure investors that she will embrace the approach to interest-rate policy that her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, pursued before he stepped down as chairman last month.Yellen told Congress that if the economy keeps improving, the Fed will take “further measured steps” to reduce the support it’s providing through bond purchases.In her first public comments since taking over the top Fed job last week, Yellen said she expects a “great deal of continuity” with Bernanke. She signalled that she supports his view that the economy is strengthening enough to withstand a pullback in stimulus but that rates should stay low to further improve a still-lacklustre economy.Her message of continuity at the Fed was a reassuring one for investors, and it contributed to a major rally on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 193 points.Yellen’s remarks to a House committee suggested that the Fed will keep its key short-term rate near zero for a prolonged period.“The recovery in the labour market is far from complete,” Yellen said, an indication that the Fed is in no hurry to boost short-term rates.She said the Fed is monitoring volatility in global markets but doesn’t think it poses a serious risk to the United States at the current time.“Since the financial crisis and the depths of the recession, substantial progress has been made in restoring the economy to health and strengthening the financial system,” Yellen said in her testimony for the House Financial Services Committee. “Still, there is more to do.”Some Republicans expressed concern that the Fed’s extraordinary support could ignite high inflation or destabilize financial markets. The committee chairman, Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, a critic of the Fed, said there were “clearly limits to what monetary policy can achieve.”Hensarling questioned whether the Fed had sent confusing signals to investors by changing its possible timetable for future actions on interest rates.Yellen, the first woman to lead the Fed in its 100 years, was delivering the Fed’s twice-a-year report to Congress a week after being sworn in to succeed Bernanke. He stepped down Jan. 31 after eight years as chairman.Several committee members praised Yellen for breaking down a gender barrier at the Fed. Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., told Yellen she would serve as an inspiration for his three daughters and said: “You have done it the old-fashioned way. You have earned it.”At the start of the hearing, Hensarling mentioned that Yellen had agreed to stay all day if necessary to allow all members of one of Congress’ largest committees to question her. That was a break from recent practice, in which Bernanke and his predecessor, Alan Greenspan, tended to sit for questions for only two or three hours.Yellen ended her testimony just short of six hours after the hearing began. The panel did take a 30-minute lunch break and two shorter breaks. At the end of the marathon session, Hensarling thanked Yellen for her “stamina.”The Fed chair drew praise for her direct responses. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said she’d been able to understand more of Yellen’s answers than she had the responses of Bernanke or Greenspan.At times, Yellen was blunt. Asked what impact a failure to raise the federal debt limit would have, she said, “Frankly, it would be catastrophic to not raise the debt limit.”She was pressed by some Republicans to explain why she opposed legislation that would subject the Fed to audits by the Government Accountability Office on its rate decisions. Yellen noted that the Fed is already subject to GAO audits in some areas. But she said that allowing the GAO to second-guess interest-rate actions would subject the Fed to improper political influence.Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., argued that the Fed was wrong to oppose the audit legislation. “The American people are feeling less and less empowered to hold the Fed responsible,” Bachmann told Yellen.At the other end of the political spectrum, Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., urged Yellen to be bolder in addressing long-term unemployment. He said many older workers who had been laid off and young people trying to enter the workforce were growing increasingly frustrated. He said Yellen should oppose Republican efforts to end the Fed’s dual mandate to pursue maximum employment and price stability so it could focus solely on inflation.Yellen said she felt the Fed’s dual mandate “has served this country well.”Many economists think the Fed bond buying, which totalled $85 billion a month during 2013, will be reduced in $10 billion increments this year until the purchases are eliminated in December. The purchases of Treasury and mortgage bonds are aimed at stimulating the economy by keeping long-term loan rates low.Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., asked Yellen to outline what developments might cause the Fed to slow or suspend its reductions in bond purchases. Maloney asked whether the weak job reports for December and January might prompt a pause.Yellen acknowledged she was surprised by the sluggish job gains the past two months. But she suggested that job growth might have been held down by severe weather and was not necessarily a signal of a slowdown. She noted that when the Fed next meets March 18-19, it will have another jobs report to review.Yellen said the Fed won’t likely change its pace of bond reductions unless it sees a “notable change” in the economic outlook. The Fed’s three rounds of bond purchases have driven its holdings above $4 trillion — four times its level before the financial crisis struck with force in 2008. Eventually, it will need to sell those investments without sending interest rates soaring or otherwise destabilizing markets.On bank regulation, Yellen said the Fed was committed to implementing the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which overhauls regulation to try to prevent a future financial crisis. But she agreed that oversight that’s too aggressive can keep banks from making loans that small businesses need to operate. read more

Meet Jeremy the lonely snail hoping to find a leftymate

first_imgJeremy the snail was originally found around a compost heap in Rayne’s Park, South West London by a retired scientist from the Natural History Museum, who spotted its unique traits.Having heard about Dr Davison’s interest in snail genetics, he contacted the Nottingham scientist before sending it on in the post.Scientists are calling on gardeners across Britain to scour their plots to see if they can find another snail with an anti-clockwise shell. Jeremy, a rare snail with an anti-clockwise shaped shell is seen at left Snails mate head to head so there sex organs must be on the right hand side   “However, they don’t really like doing this,” added Dr Davison. “From our perspective, the genetic data from offspring of two lefty snails would be far richer and more valuable to us.”Earlier this year, in research published in the journal Current Biology, Dr Davison and colleagues at universities in Edinburgh, Germany and the US, revealed they had discovered a gene that determines whether a snail’s shell twists in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction.The same gene also affects body asymmetry in other animals – including humans – and research using these snails could offer the chance to develop our understanding of how organs are placed in the body and why this process can sometimes go wrong when some or all of the major internal organs are reversed from their normal placement.Garden snails court from 15 minutes to six hours by circling each other, touching with tentacles, and biting on the lip and genitalAnyone who thinks they have found a sinistral snail can email a picture of the snail to [email protected] or tweet it using the hashtag #snaillove. Snails mate head to head so there sex organs must be on the right hand side  Life is not easy when you’re a sinistral mutant.Jeremy the garden snail was born with a rare genetic mutation which means his shell spirals anti-clockwise. Unless he finds another snail with a similar abnormality, he simply cannot mate.And it’s not just the aesthetics of his eccentric exterior which is putting off suitors. His left-handed make-up means his sex organ is also on the wrong side.Snails mate face-to-face, sliding past each other on the right hand side so that their genitalia can meet. To copulate Jeremy must beat one in million odds to find another snail which also has left-handed sex organs which are compatible with his own.Yet there is hope. The University of Nottingham is keen to study the genetics of left-sidedness, or ‘sinistral mutation’ and so is on the hunt for a partner for Jeremy so they can study his offspring.“This really is an exciting find – I have been studying snails for more than 20 years and I have never seen one of these before,” said Dr Angus Davison, associate professor at the university’s school of life sciences.“We are very keen to study the snail’s genetics to find out whether this is a result of a developmental glitch or whether this is a genuine inherited genetic trait. It is very rare. It might even be one in a million.“They mate in a face-to-face position and the genatalia are on the right had side of the body in a normal ‘righty’ snail and that means when you get two snails of the opposite kind trying to mate the genatalia just don’t match up. They can’t get it together.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Jeremy, a rare snail with an anti-clockwise shaped shell is seen at leftCredit:University of Nottingham “This is something which everyone can get involved with and which you can easily do on your own doorstep,” added Dr Davison.“There is a chance, because it is such a rare thing, that anyone who can find and identify another of these sinistral snails may even find themselves named as a contributor on a research paper we publish in the future as a result of this.Although he has been christened Jeremy, snails are actually hermaphrodites, and can reproduce on their own without the need for another mate.last_img read more