WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 (Xinhua)-- U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Thursday that some recent economic indicators have pointed to weaker consumer spending than had been expected, but the central bank needs more time to judge how much the weather has played a role.
In her semi-annual testimony on the economic outlook and monetary policy, Yellen said the Fed will monitor coming data to see whether the weakness reflects only a temporary slip caused by unusually cold weather.
"Since my appearance before the House committee, a number of data releases have pointed to softer spending than many analysts had expected," Yellen told lawmakers in the Senate Banking Committee.
"Part of that softness may reflect adverse weather conditions, but at this point it is difficult to discern how much," she added.
"In the weeks and months ahead, my colleagues and I will be attentive to signals that indicate whether the recovery is progressing in line with our earlier expectations," she said, maintaining that it would take a "significant change in the outlook" for the central bank to pause its gradual reduction of asset purchases, which now totals 65 billion dollars a month.
Yellen, 67, took the oath of office to lead the Federal Reserve System on Feb. 3, succeeding Ben Bernanke, who stepped down after eight turbulent years. Yellen was previously the Fed's vice Chair.
In her remarks to the House Financial Services Committee two weeks ago, Yellen said the U.S. labor market was "far from complete" and underscored the importance of considering more than just the unemployment rate when evaluating the conditions of the labor market. She expected "a great deal of continuity" in the central bank's monetary policy.
Thursday's hearing, originally scheduled for Feb. 13, was postponed because of a snowstorm.