Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Friday, August 27, that inflation should remain “subdued for some time, with low risks of either a significant increase or decrease from current levels.”
While the pace of economic recovery has slowed in recent months–because of slower-than-expected consumer spending and “weakness” in residential and non-residential construction–there will be “some growth in 2011 and in subsequent years,” Bernanke said during his speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, at the annual Federal Reserve conference. “Broad financial conditions, including monetary policy, are supportive of growth, and banks appear to have become somewhat more willing to lend.” Importantly, he continued, “households may have made more progress than we had earlier thought in repairing their balance sheets, allowing them more flexibility to increase their spending as conditions improve. And as the expansion strengthens, firms should become more willing to hire.”
The U.S. has “come a long way, but there is still some way to travel,” Bernanke said. “Together with other economic policymakers and the private sector, the Federal Reserve remains committed to playing its part to help the U.S. economy return to sustained, noninflationary growth.”
With the policy rate near zero, Bernanke noted that the Federal Reserve has a number of tools and strategies for providing additional stimulus, and fighting off deflation.
First is conducting additional purchases of longer-term securities. “I believe that additional purchases of longer-term securities, should the Federal Market Open Committee (FOMC) choose to undertake them, would be effective in further easing financial conditions.”