Number two at US Federal Reserve to step down

Ben Bernanke Participates In IMF Research Conference

In a surprise move that could augur a shakeup at the USA central bank, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer announced Wednesday that he would resign next month for "personal reasons".

The 73-year-old will step down on Oct 13, almost a year before his term as vice chair was due to expire and two and a half years before the end of his term on the Fed's board of governors, the Fed said in a statement.

Fischer, 73, cited "personal reasons", for his resignation, which will take effect October 13.

Were Trump not to nominate Yellen for a second term, it would mark the first time since 1978 that a sitting Fed chair was not renominated by a new president.

In a recent speech, Yellen delivered a forceful defense of Wall Street reforms put in place after the crisis, widely seen as a direct contradiction of Trump's position which could cause her to lose favor in the White House.

In July, Trump appointed Randal Quarles to the Fed's Board of Governors.

The departure would leave just three people on the Fed's seven-seat board, increasing the pressure on the Trump administration and Congress to fill some of the vacancies.

"During my time on the Board, the economy has continued to strengthen, providing millions of additional jobs for working Americans", Fischer wrote. His term as vice-chair was set to expire next year.

Previously, he had served as a top official at the International Monetary Fund during the Asia crisis of the 1990s. "I'm personally grateful for his friendship and his service".

"Stan's keen insights, grounded in a lifetime of exemplary scholarship and public service, contributed invaluably to our monetary policy deliberations", Fed Chair Janet Yellen said. "We will miss his wise counsel, good humor, and dry wit".

For that reason, experts speculated that Fischer would step down in June, particularly if Trump decided not to renominate Yellen.

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