- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 24, 2015

The top U.S. banker struggled to finish a Thursday afternoon speech and had to receive medical attention at the event.

Janet Yellen, the chair of the Federal Reserve, was delivering the annual Gamble Memorial Lecture in Amherst, Massachusetts, when she had her medical difficulties, according to Reuters news agency.

Ms. Yellen, 69, was coughing and had to stop to recompose herself several times, reporter Jonathan Spicer wrote.

She also “appeared to lose her place in reading the speech and stopped several times. She abruptly said, ‘I think I will end here,’ ” he wrote.

CNBC reported, citing a Secret Service agent, that Ms. Yellen said afterward she was fine. The business-news network said she told people backstage that she just felt light-headed but was better after sitting down and drinking some water.

According to a statement issued by the Federal Reserve, Ms. Yellen “felt dehydrated at the end of a long speech under bright lights.”

Ms. Yellen “felt fine afterward and has continued with her schedule Thursday evening,” the Fed said, adding that she was seen by medical personnel just as a precaution.

In her speech, Ms. Yellen had told the audience of several hundred people at the University of Massachusetts that she and other members of the Federal Open Market Committee don’t expect to continue their policy of near-zero interest rates much longer and may raise rates before year’s end.

“Most of my colleagues and I anticipate that it will likely be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate sometime this year,” she said, adding that she thinks the U.S. economy will remain strong and inflation pressures low, which would make raising rates possible.

“Achieving these conditions will likely entail an initial increase in the federal funds rate later this year, followed by a gradual pace of tightening thereafter,” she said.

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