Trump says Yellen and Cohn possible Fed chair picks

Current Fed chair Janet Yellen and US President Donald Trump's economic adviser Gary Cohn.
Current Fed chair Janet Yellen and US President Donald Trump's economic adviser Gary Cohn. PHOTOS: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - United States President Donald Trump named on Tuesday (July 25) two possible candidates to run the Federal Reserve over the next few years: current Fed chair Janet Yellen and Trump's economic adviser Gary Cohn, according to an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

Yellen, whose four-year term expires in February, "is in the running, absolutely", to be re-nominated, Mr Trump was quoted as saying. In addition, Mr Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs president who is now director of the National Economic Council, "certainly would be in the mix", he said.

Mr Trump said he probably would make the announcement at the end of the year, the paper reported. He was also quoted saying that there are "two or three" other contenders, though he declined to name them. Any Fed nominee would need Senate confirmation.

Mr Trump's comments could sharpen speculation over who will take the helm of the world's most influential central bank, which is leading a global shift towards tighter monetary policy. Earlier this month, Politico reported that Ms Yellen was increasingly unlikely to serve another term, while Mr Cohn was the top candidate.

Mr Cohn, a Democrat who is managing the White House's search for candidates, did not work on Mr Trump's campaign and got to know him only after the November election. "I've gained great respect for Gary working with him," the paper quoted Mr Trump as saying on Tuesday.

Ms Yellen took over from Mr Ben Bernanke as Fed chair in February 2014 with the US economic recovery from the 2008 financial crisis still on shaky ground. As unemployment has since fallen, she has overseen four interest rate hikes and aims for at least one more before the end of this year.

"I like her. I like her demeanour. I think she's done a good job," Mr Trump was quoted as saying. "I'd like to see rates stay low. She's historically been a low-interest-rate person."

During last year's presidential election campaign, Mr Trump had accused the Fed of keeping rates low to help former President Barack Obama, saying the Fed had created a "false economy" and that rates should change.

In an April interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr Trump did not rule out a second term for Ms Yellen.