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New US Central Bank Chief Vows to Maintain Prices, Growth

The new head of the U.S. central bank says maintaining price stability and economic growth are crucial to its mission. Ben Bernanke spoke after being sworn in as the new chief of the Federal Reserve Board.

Bernanke formally assumed the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve Board last week, following the retirement of Alan Greenspan, who led the central bank for almost two decades. The formal, ceremonial transfer of power was held Monday with President Bush and Greenspan in attendance.

Bernanke vowed to do his best to carry out the mission entrusted to the central bank.

"Our mission, as set forth by the Congress, is a critical one - to preserve price stability, to foster maximum sustainable growth and output and employment, and to promote a stable and efficient financial system that serves all Americans well and fairly," Mr. Bernanke says.

Bernanke also said he looks forward to "a strong and constructive" relationship with Congress.

It is generally agreed that Alan Greenspan's leadership of the Federal Reserve will be hard to follow. But President Bush said Ben Bernanke is the right man for the job.

Mr. Bush noted America's central bank is a symbol of integrity and reliability around the world and said the new chairman will carry on the proud tradition of his predecessors.

"Ben is an economist's economist, one of the most esteemed leaders in the field. He understands that economics is more than just crunching numbers," Mr. Bush says. "Good economics embraces policies that unleash hope and hard work and the power of free people to be able to fashion and improve their lives."

The president said the new chairman of the Federal Reserve has earned the respect of the global financial community through his writings, his career in academia, and his tenure as a Federal Reserve Board member.