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Obama nominates Janet Yellen as new Fed chair

Janet Yellen has been nominated by US President Barack Obama to take the reins of the Federal Reserve. Yellen would become the first woman to hold the post if her nomination is confirmed.

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Yellen at the Fed

Barack Obama made official the widely-expected nomination of Janet Yellen as chairwoman of the US Federal Reserve on Wednesday.

"Janet is exceptionally qualified for this job," Obama said in a press conference at the White House. "America's workers and families will have a champion in Janet."

Obama also paid tribute to the Ben Bernanke's two four-year terms as the chairman of the Federal Reserve, calling Bernanke "a voice of wisdom and a steady hand" in the face of the global financial turmoil of recent years.

Bernanke's second term comes to an end on January 31, 2014.

The 67-year-old Yellen, Bernanke's deputy at the Fed for the past three years, is a respected former economics professor. She also boasts prior experience at the US' central bank, and elsewhere in Washington. Her nomination is expected to comfortably win the required approval from the upper house of Congress, the Senate, which is led by Obama's Democrats.

"I urge the Senate to confirm Janet without delay," Obama said.

Clear run to nomination

Yellen was considered a major frontrunner ever since another potential candidate, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, ruled himself out of the race over policy differences with some Democrat senators.

Among Fed officials, Yellen is widely referred to as a "dove" (as opposed to a "hawk"). This is shorthand to suggest that her monetary policies are comparatively liberal, favoring stimulus measures and low interest rates more than policies designed to stave off inflation or control currency circulation.

"More needs to be done to strengthen the recovery, particularly for those hardest hit by the great recession," Yellen said at the White House.

mz/ph (AP, dpa, AFP)

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