UPDATE 1-Fed's Yellen to testify before Congress Feb. 11 and 13

Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:20pm EST

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Jan 31 (Reuters) - Incoming Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will testify before U.S. lawmakers on Feb. 11 and again on Feb. 13 in what will probably be her first public comments on monetary policy and the economy after taking the reins at the U.S. central bank.

Yellen, who succeeds Ben Bernanke on Saturday to become the first woman to head the Fed, will break a nearly three-month-long silence with the two days of testimony on the Fed's semi-annual monetary policy report.

Yellen is to appear before the House Financial Services Committee at 10 a.m. (1500 GMT) on Feb. 11, according to a statement on Friday by the committee's chairman. She faces the Senate Banking Committee at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 13, a committee aide said.

Yellen, the Fed's current vice chair, last spoke publicly at her Senate confirmation hearing on Nov. 14, before the Fed took its first step to wind down its massive bond-buying program.

Since then she has had little exposure besides an interview published in Time Magazine this month in which she suggested she expects the U.S. economy to grow at a pace of at least 3 percent.

A strong supporter of the Fed's very easy policies, Yellen will be tasked with continuing to ramp down a huge bond-buying program and, later, raising interest rates and shrinking the Fed's swollen balance sheet.

Jeb Hensarling, Republican chairman of the House committee, has been holding hearings on the Fed's bond-buying program, which has caused the central bank's balance sheet to balloon to around $4 trillion.

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