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Yellen named to lead key Fed panel

The Federal Reserve's key monetary policy-making panel, the Federal Open Market Committee, officially chose incoming Fed chief Janet Yellen as its chair on Thursday.

WASHINGTON: The Federal Reserve's key monetary policy-making panel, the Federal Open Market Committee, officially chose incoming Fed chief Janet Yellen as its chair on Thursday.

One day after outgoing Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke oversaw his final FOMC meeting, the Fed said the panel had unanimously selected Yellen to replace him.

The FOMC meets eight times a year to set monetary policy, and the chair of the central bank is usually named to lead the panel, a powerful role in guiding the US economy.

Bernanke ends his eight-year tenure on Friday, having presided over the world's most powerful central bank during the deepest economic crisis since the 1930s.

Yellen, who served as Bernanke's vice chair for the past four years, is scheduled to be sworn in as the new chair of the Fed overall on February 3.

The respected economist will be the first woman ever to lead the century-old Fed, and is expected to hold it to the policies that Bernanke has laid down, aimed to boost employment as long as inflation is tamed.

The Fed said that in the interim weekend period after Bernanke steps down, Yellen will remain as vice chair but "with the authority to exercise all the duties of the chair."

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