Scott Mlyn | CNBC
Inflation in the US remains low too ̵
"The United States is not an island," she added. "We're part of the global economy, and what's happening in the rest of the world – in Europe, in Asia – is the United States, and it's also true that US monetary policy is affecting conditions around the world."
Yellen led the Fed for a four-year term that ended on February 3, 2018. Under her tenure, the Fed raised interest rates in December 2015 for the first time in nearly a decade. It was the beginning of an effort to raise interest rates to a level where policymakers could have some leeway to bring them down in the face of a future downturn.
The expected rate cut on Wednesday is seen as a precautionary step amid growing concerns about global growth prospects and the impact of the continuing Beijing-Washington trade wars on trade wars and low inflation. Yellen said the country should maintain the conditions for a strong US economy that can stay on an expansion path.
"I think given the risks, I would be inclined to lower a bit," she said, referring to Fed rates. "I would not consider this as the beginning of a major easing cycle, unless things change, but I think it's appropriate."
– CNBC's Patti Domm has contributed to this report.