Trump taps Powell to lead Federal Reserve

(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on October 31, 2017 shows a September 20, 2017 photograph of current Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen (L) in Washington, DC and a June 5, 2012 photograph courtesy the
US Federal Reserve of Governor Jerome H. Powell. US President Donald Trump is expected to announce his choice to lead the Federal Reserve on November 2, 2017, a US official said on October 30, 2017. Trump said last week he had “somebody very specific in mind. I think everybody will be very impressed.”He has not publicly ruled out re-nominating current Fed Chair Janet Yellen to a second four-year term, but US media have reported that Jerome Powell, a current Fed governor, is the likely candidate. That would mark a change from tradition, as US presidents since the 1970s have always reappointed the central bank chief named by their predecessor as a signal of stability to markets./ AFP PHOTO / AFP PHOTO AND US Federal Reserve / SAUL LOEB AND Britt LECKMAN

President Donald Trump has chosen Jerome Powell to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve, a congressional source and US media said Wednesday.

White House officials refused to confirm Trump had finalized his decision to pick Powell, but a senior Capitol Hill source told AFP that congressional leadership “got a head’s up” about Powell’s nomination.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Wednesday that Powell, a Federal Reserve Governor, was Trump’s pick to replace Janet Yellen at the helm of the central bank.

The paper quoted two people familiar with the matter as saying Trump spoke to Powell on Tuesday to inform him of the decision.

If confirmed by the Senate, Powell would take over from Yellen when her four-year term as Fed chair expires in February.

Powell has already been through that confirmation process in order to become a member of the Fed’s board.

Yellen was a potential, though dark horse candidate, and earlier Wednesday Trump praised her as “excellent.” But he has made clear in all his appointments he wants to put his own stamp on policy.

The choice marks the first time since Jimmy Carter’s administration in the 1970s that a president has failed to reappoint the Fed chair named by his predecessor.

After months of public debate, analysts say Powell represented a middle-ground option for the president, who wanted to mark a departure from the Obama era, while markets prefer continuity and favored Yellen who has presided over an era of low inflation and steady economic growth.

An attorney by training who has voted with the majority of Fed members since his appointment by Barack Obama in 2012, Powell was seen as a centrist, unlikely to pursue steep rate hikes but probably more amenable to the Trump administration’s deregulation agenda.