Bernanke says economy ‘still far’ from ideal


Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday the economy remains far from where the Fed wants to see it and that the US central bank is still committed to its stimulus policies.

Bernanke gave no hint as to when Fed policymakers might begin cutting back its $85 billion a month in asset purchases, saying they remain “committed to maintaining highly accommodative policies for as long as they are needed.”

“The economy has made significant progress since the depths of the recession,” he said in a prepared speech to be delivered to a group of economists on Tuesday evening.

“However, we are still far from where we would like to be, and, consequently, it may be some time before monetary policy returns to more normal settings.”

Bernanke, with about 11 weeks left in his eight years as Fed chair, said investors overreacted earlier this year when they sent US interest rates sharply higher on the Federal Open Market Committee’s plans for stimulus cuts.

But he said that now, after rates have eased somewhat, they are more in line with policy, which still sees the Fed’s base interest rate remaining near zero into 2015.




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