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Obama unlikely to name Fed head this week: source

Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen addresses the 29th National Association for Business Economics Policy Conference in Washington March
Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen addresses the 29th National Association for Business Economics Policy Conference in Washington March

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama is unlikely to unveil his pick to succeed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve this week, and the current Fed No. 2, Janet Yellen, remains the leading contender, a source familiar with the process said on Monday.

Bernanke's second four-year term at the helm of the U.S. central bank comes to a close in January, and speculation has swirled around Obama's plans for the replacement.

Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, considered the president's preference, withdrew his name from consideration a week ago, saying his confirmation would incite acrimony.

Besides Summers, Yellen and former Vice Chairman Donald Kohn are among those Obama said he has been considering for the job. Yellen is still the top prospect, the source said.

The Senate needs to hold hearings and confirm the nominee, and with a compressed legislative schedule before the end of the year, time is growing tighter.

Lawmakers are currently preoccupied with measures to keep government funding going beyond October 1 to keep the government from shutting down and to raise the nation's debt ceiling ahead of a mid-October date, or face the risk of default.

Yellen had been scheduled to speak to the Economic Club of New York on October 1, but her speech has been postponed.

(Reporting By Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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