John Ydstie

The Federal Reserve is likely to raise interest rates at its December meeting, Jerome Powell, President Trump's pick to be Fed chairman, signaled Tuesday.

"I think the case for raising interest rates at our next meeting is coming together," Powell told the Senate Banking Committee at his confirmation hearing.

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Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen today announced that she will resign from the Federal Reserve Board once her successor, Jerome Powell, is sworn in.

Yellen is the first woman to serve as Fed chair. While her term as Fed chair ends in February, Yellen could have stayed on the board until 2024, serving out her 14-year term as a Fed governor. Instead she'll follow the practice of previous Fed leaders and leave the board once Powell becomes chairman.

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Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, the first woman to hold that position, won't have the opportunity to serve four more years as leader of the nation's central bank. But she leaves the Fed's top post having largely achieved its mandate to engineer full employment while keeping inflation at a level that fosters growth.

President Trump on Thursday named Jerome Powell to be the next chair of the Federal Reserve, the first time in decades that a president hasn't reappointed a chief of the central bank for a second term.

If confirmed by the Senate, Powell, 64, will succeed Janet Yellen — the first woman to head the Fed — whose term expires in February. Powell, a current member of the Fed's board of governors, is expected to pursue policies largely in line with the gradual interest rate hikes of the Yellen-led Fed.

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A day before President Trump was expected to name their next leader, Federal Reserve policymakers decided to hold a key interest rate steady at between 1 percent and 1.25 percent. However, analysts are still looking for a rate increase at the central bank's next meeting, in mid-December.

President Trump says he is very close to making a decision about who will lead the Federal Reserve once Janet Yellen's term expires in February.

The Fed chair is often called the second-most-powerful person in Washington, after the president. By steering interest rate policy, the Fed chair affects economic growth, the pace of job creation and inflation.

President Trump made his view of the North American Free Trade Agreement very clear during the presidential election. He called NAFTA "the worst trade deal in ... the history of this country." And Trump blamed NAFTA for the loss of millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs.

His administration is in the midst of renegotiating the free trade deal with Canada and Mexico, and that is making many U.S. farmers and ranchers nervous.

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