Ben Bernanke: US “Far From Full Strength”

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the U.S. economy is far from operating at full strength and reiterated his commitment to record easing.

“With unemployment at almost 8 percent, we are still far from the fully healthy and vibrant conditions that we would like to see,” Bernanke said today at a meeting in Moscow of his counterparts from the Group of 20. “The United States is using domestic policy tools to advance domestic objectives.”

The U.S. central bank has faced criticism from some foreign officials, including Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega, who in October said that its accommodation has weakened the dollar, threatening to fuel a “currency war” of competitive devaluations. The Fed under Bernanke has expanded assets to a record exceeding $3 trillion and pushed down the benchmark interest rate close to zero.

“We believe that by strengthening the U.S. economy we are helping to strengthen the global economy as well,” Bernanke said.

The Fed last month affirmed a plan to buy $85 billion per month in bonds, seeking to foster growth and reduce a 7.9 percent jobless rate. “The Federal Reserve continues to provide accommodative monetary policy in our effort to foster maximum employment and price stability,” Bernanke said.


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