No Signs Of New Steps In Fed Chief Bernanke's Address

Aug 26, 2011

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's much-anticipated speech this morning on the current state of the economy and Fed policy has just been put online by the Fed.

And as many Fed watchers predicted, he does not appear to have signaled any shifts in policy or thinking by the central bank's policy makers. On Wall Street, stocks are falling on word that the Fed isn't likely to take any new steps to boost the economy.

We're expecting a report from NPR's Scott Horsley, who is covering the Jackson Hole, Wyo., conference where Bernanke is speaking this hour. We'll update this post when we hear from Scott.

Meanwhile, here are some excerpts from Bernanke's as-prepared-for-delivery address:

-- "It is clear that the [economic] recovery from the crisis has been much less robust than we had hoped."

-- "Monetary policy must be responsive to changes in the economy and, in particular, to the outlook for growth and inflation. As I mentioned earlier, the recent data have indicated that economic growth during the first half of this year was considerably slower than the Federal Open Market Committee had been expecting."

-- "Consequently, although we expect a moderate recovery to continue and indeed to strengthen over time, the Committee has marked down its outlook for the likely pace of growth over coming quarters."

-- "In light of its current outlook, the Committee recently decided to provide more specific forward guidance about its expectations for the future path of the federal funds rate. In particular, in the statement following our meeting earlier this month, we indicated that economic conditions — including low rates of resource utilization and a subdued outlook for inflation over the medium run — are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through mid-2013."

-- "In addition to refining our forward guidance, the Federal Reserve has a range of tools that could be used to provide additional monetary stimulus. We discussed the relative merits and costs of such tools at our August meeting. We will continue to consider those and other pertinent issues, including of course economic and financial developments, at our meeting in September, which has been scheduled for two days (the 20th and the 21st) instead of one to allow a fuller discussion. The Committee will continue to assess the economic outlook in light of incoming information and is prepared to employ its tools as appropriate to promote a stronger economic recovery in a context of price stability."

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