Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Tuesday the Fed would maintain its ultra-easy U.S. monetary policy for as long as needed and only begin to taper bond buying once it is assured that improvements in the labor market would continue.
He noted that the fed funds rate can remain near zero ‘well after’ the unemployment rate hits 6.5 percent and that unemployment targets are thresholds, not triggers. The U.S. unemployment rate is currently at 7.3 percent.
In a speech to the National Economists Club that echoed dovish comments by his nominated successor, Janet Yellen, Bernanke also said that while the economy had made significant progress, it was still far from where officials wanted it to be.
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