Thursday 11 February 2016 4:52 pm

US Federal Reserve’s Janet Yellen: ‘We’re taking a look’ at negative interest rates

The US Federal Reserve is looking into whether negative interest rates would be an applicable policy for the US. 

Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said in testimony to congress: "We had previously considered them and decided they would not work well to foster accommodation back in 2010."

"In light of the experience of European countries and others that have gone to negative rates, we're taking a look at them again, because we would want to be prepared in the event that we needed to add accommodation."

"We haven't finished that evaluation. We need to consider the US institutional context and whether they would work well here."

"I wouldn't want take those [negative interest rates] off the table, but we would have work to do to judge whether those would be workable here."

The issue of negative interest rates came up in yesterday's testimony to congress. Yellen said some of the legal issues behind negative interest rates needed to be looked into. 

Concerns over US growth have risen in response to increased financial market volatility, although most economic data, such as the number of jobs being created, is holding up.