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Yellen tees up a March interest-rate hike

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen spoke Friday in Chicago, indicating that the Fed will raise rates on March 15th. She also suggested that if the economy develops as expected, the central bank will raise rates three times this year — sending the fed funds rate 0.75% higher to between 1.25% and 1.50%. Pantheon Macro's Ian Shepherdson emails, " They'll hike this month unless [next week's jobs numbers] are disastrous." Markets were flat on the news, suggesting that Yellen's comments were in line with expectations.

Escape velocity: We haven't seen a Fed Chair so bullish on the U.S. economy in more than a decade. Said Yellen, "The U.S. economy has exhibited remarkable resilience" in the face of significant headwinds, like the 2014 crash of the oil market and slow global growth. She pointed to low unemployment, rising inflation and healthier economies in Europe and China as reasons to be optimistic for the quarters ahead.

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