The head of the U.S. central bank says its key interest rate is unlikely to go up before June, and markets will have some warning before that happens.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen made the comments Tuesday to the Senate Banking Committee, part of her twice-a-year report on the state of the economy and how policymakers are trying to manage it.
During the financial crisis, key U.S. short-term interest rates were cut to record-lows to spur economic growth. Rising growth and falling unemployment make many economists think continued stimulus is unnecessary and they expect the Fed to boost rates in the middle of this year.
Yellen said Fed officials will continue to be "patient" before raising interest rates.
The Federal Reserve is supposed to work for full employment and stable prices, and inflation is running below the two percent annual rate that Fed experts call good for the economy.
Low interest rates tend to raise inflation, but Fed critics worry rising prices could get out of control and hurt the economy.