News / Economy

    US Central Bank Trims Direct Support of American Economy

    The news conference of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke appears on a television screen at a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Dec. 18, 2013.
    The news conference of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke appears on a television screen at a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Dec. 18, 2013.
    Ken Bredemeier
    The U.S. central bank has decided to start trimming back its direct support of the American economy.

    For more than a year, the Federal Reserve has been buying $85 billion of securities a month in an effort to keep interest rates low and boost job growth.  With the world's largest economy advancing steadily, Fed policy makers Wednesday said they would cut the asset purchases to $75 billion a month, starting in January.

    Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said policy makers now believe the U.S. economy will continue to advance, although it has much farther to go "before conditions can be judged normal."  Even so, he predicted the country's labor market will continue to improve, after adding nearly 3 million jobs since the asset purchases were started in September 2012.

    "With fiscal restraint likely diminishing, with signs that healthful spending is picking up, we expect economic growth to be strong enough to support further job gains," said Bernanke.

    Investors showed their approval of the Fed policy shift, with key stock indexes on New York exchanges surging more than 1 percent in the first hour after the central bank made its announcement.

    In a statement, the central bank said it sees "improvement in economic activity and labor market conditions" in recent months that are "consistent with growing underlying strength in the broader economy."

    The policy makers said they expect to cut the asset purchases further in "measured steps" in the coming months, but set no timetable.  Bernanke said it would depend on further improvement in the economy.

    The Fed also kept its benchmark interest rate at near zero and said it expected to keep it that low "well past the time" when the country's unemployment rate, now at 7 percent, falls below 6.5 percent.

    The central bank has for months been weighing whether to trim its economic stimulus measures, but has backed off when one economic trend or another has fallen.

    Economist Mark Vitner at Wells Fargo Bank says that many of the conditions that Fed policy makers cited in September as a reason to not cut the securities purchases have now diminished.

    "There's less political uncertainty.  There's still political uncertainty, but there's much less than there was then. Chances of a government shutdown early next year have gone down considerably since we got the budget deal. And the economy looks a lot stronger.  Most of the economic news that we've gotten has not only come in stronger than expected, but some of it has come in much stronger than expected," said Vitner.

    Bernanke is in his final weeks of an eight-year tenure as chief of the world's most powerful central bank, a period in which the U.S. economy sustained its biggest downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930's.
     
    Fed vice chair Janet Yellen, who voted for the cut in asset purchases, has been nominated to replace Bernanke in February and could win Senate confirmation in the coming days.

    You May Like

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: BEN from: USA
    December 18, 2013 6:40 PM
    If the FED is public, then why when anyone steps on the property, you are surrounded by uniformed goons, telling you to get off PRIVATE property????????????????????????????????

    by: Doris Flemming from: USA
    December 18, 2013 6:37 PM
    The FED, a PRIVATE so-called "bank" that is owned and operated by the sinister ROCKEFELLER FAMILY. FACT!!!!!!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.8883
    JPY
    USD
    114.96
    GBP
    USD
    0.6869
    CAD
    USD
    1.3858
    INR
    USD
    67.855

    Rates may not be current.