Yellen sticks to view U.S. economy headed for soft landing

U.S. Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen holds a news conference at the Museum of the Water Civilization in Morocco on the third day of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meeting, in Marrakech, Morocco, October 11, 2023. REUTERS/Susana V

By Andrea Shalal

MARRAKECH, Morocco (Reuters) -U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Wednesday she continued to expect the U.S. economy would have a soft landing, even though the conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas brought additional risks.

“I still see as the base case for the United States a so-called soft landing,” due to the resilience in the labour market and moderating wage pressure, Yellen told a briefing.

“Of course the situation in Israel causes additional concerns. I’m not saying soft landing is an absolutely sure thing. But I continue to think it’s the most likely path.”

Yellen said Washington was monitoring the potential economic impact of the escalating conflict, though it was unlikely a major driver of the global outlook.

“Thus far, I don’t think we’ve seen anything suggesting it would be very significant,” she said.

Crude oil prices jumped and safe-haven currencies like the yen rose following a massive incursion into Israel from Gaza launched by Hamas on Oct. 7.

Yellen said she had nothing to announce yet on whether the United States would tighten sanctions on Iran if evidence emerged that the country was involved in the attack.

“This is something that we have been constantly looking at, and using information that become available to tighten sanctions,” she said. “We will continue to do that.”


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