Obama likely won't announce Fed chair pick until fall

The White House moved on Friday to damp down speculation about President Barack Obama's choice to lead the Federal Reserve when current Chairman Ben Bernanke's term expires, saying no decision has been made and no announcement is likely until the fall.

Bernanke's term at the U.S. central bank, his second, ends Jan. 31. Obama has signaled that he is likely to choose someone else to replace him.

The president's choice will be one of the most important economic decisions of his second term and has global ramifications. The Fed chair serves a four-year term and, independent from political pressure, makes decisions that influence the course of the U.S. economy, and hence, other economies around the world.

News this week that the president appeared to be giving serious thought to selecting former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers - and perhaps favoring him over the consensus front-runner, Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen - fueled an outburst of speculation and commentary.

—By Reuters