Bernanke: Fed Ready to Act If It’s Needed
Even as the economy shows signs of slowing and the unemployment rate remains stuck at painfully high levels, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke spent much of a news conference Wednesday explaining why central bankers have decided — for now — to do nothing.
Earlier in the day, the central bank’s policy-making Open Market Committee repeated its promise to leave interest rates on hold at current rock-bottom levels until at least late 2014. But it gave little guidance on whether it might take additional steps later this year to try to boost growth.
“We remain entirely prepared to take additional balance sheet actions if necessary to achieve our objectives,” Bernanke told reporters. “So those tools remain very much on the table, and we would not hesitate to use them should the economy require that additional support.”