News / Economy

Bernanke: US Economy Growing Moderately

Multimedia

The head of the U.S. Central Bank flung the doors of the normally secretive Federal Reserve wide open Wednesday to hold the first of three planned news conferences.  Fed chief Ben Bernanke fielded questions on a number of economic issues, including record low interest rates and the nation's high unemployment.  Mil Arcega has more.

In his first ever news conference, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the U.S. economy is recovering at a moderate pace.  
He also announced that the Fed's controversial $600-billion bond-buying program would end in June as planned.

"Of course, going forward the committee will regularly review the size and composition of its securities holdings in light of incoming information and is prepared to adjust those holdings as needed to meet the Federal Reserve's mandate," said Bernanke.

The bond purchases were intended to bolster the U.S. economy by lowering loan rates and encouraging banks to lend more money.  But critics worried the purchases would feed inflation and lower the value of the dollar.
Bernanke downplayed inflation risks but acknowledged that the recent spike in gasoline prices is hurting consumers.

"Our view is that gas prices will not continue to rise at the recent pace and as they stabilize or even come down if the situation stabilizes in the Middle East, that that will provide some relief on the inflation front.  But we'll have to watch it carefully," he said.

The Fed also kept a pledge to hold its key interest rates at record lows for an extended period. Higher rates would reduce borrowing and dampen consumer spending, but it would also make companies less inclined to boost prices.
Economists say as long as unemployment remains high, the recovery is likely to stay muted. But Bernanke says he's optimistic.

"While the recovery process looks likely to continue to be a relatively moderate one compared to the depth of the recession, I do think that the pace will pick up over time and I am very confident in the long run that the U.S. will return to being the most productive, one of the fastest growing and dynamic economies in the world," said Bernanke.

In the past, policy decisions made by the Federal Reserve's board members were often shrouded in secrecy or announced weeks later.
Some analysts see the Fed decision to answer reporter questions directly as a bold move that will allow the nation's top economist to steer discussion on the U.S. economy.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7718
JPY
USD
107.32
GBP
USD
0.6125
CAD
USD
1.0974
INR
USD
60.919

Rates may not be current.