Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen said Thursday that the Fed would assess in the coming weeks whether the “unseasonably” cold weather has caused the uptick in “soft data” over the past four to six weeks, noting that the central bank may pause the tapering of bond purchases if weakening conditions persist.
“Quite a range of data has been soft recently” — low unemployment, slow growth in payrolls, and “softer spending” in housing and retail sales, Yellen told members of the Senate Banking Committee. “Unseasonably cold weather has played a role,” she said, adding that “in the weeks ahead” the Fed would “get a firmer handle on how much of this soft data can be explained by weather.”
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