Bernanke: Fed Still Has Ways To Bolster Economy

Posted August 26th, 2011 at 10:50 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says the central bank still has a “range of tools” it can use to stimulate the economy, but he did not say when or how they might be used.

Bernanke spoke Friday at a gathering to top economists at a mountain resort in Wyoming. Investors and economists have been speculating for days about what, if any, new stimulus efforts Bernanke might outline in this speech.

He said “most” of the economic policies that support robust economic growth are outside the province of the central bank. He also said the recent political wrangling over the debt ceiling, government spending and other issues hurt the economy by cutting business and consumer confidence.

He called on Washington to help growth by working out ways to cope with debt, and adopt effective tax, trade and regulatory policies.

He said it is necessary to cut the debt in the long term, but urged policymakers to do that without slashing the spending that is supporting the fragile recovery in the short term.

Bernanke spoke shortly after a report showed that the U.S. economy grew more slowly than first thought in April, May, and June. Commerce Department experts say the economy expanded at a 1 percent annual rate in the second quarter. That is even slower than the meager 1.3 percent growth experts first estimated, and less than investors expected. The report is a routine update made as experts get additional data.