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Business

Fed chief says rate hike likely soon

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has said an interest rate hike would 'probably' happen "in the coming months." But it would depend on whether the United States economy continued to grow at a fast enough clip.

Yellen expressed confidence on Friday that the US economy would keep growing and

new jobs

would continue to be created, suggesting that such an environment would be conducive to an increase in interest rates.

The US economy only

grew by 0.8 percent

in the first quarter of this year, its weakest pace in a year, according to the latest data from the US Commerce Department. But growth in the current quarter is looking much more robust. Some estimates even put it between 2.5 and 3 percent.

"The economy is continuing to improve," Yellen told an audience at Harvard University on Friday. "Growth looks to be picking up."

As a result, the head of the Federal Reserve said a

decision to raise interest rates

would be appropriate "probably in the coming months."

Her suggestion echoed a timeframe that has been mentioned by other Fed policymakers in recent weeks as well. Going by their prognoses, such a decision could come as early as June or July.

cjc/hg (AFP, Reuters)

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