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Bernanke Sees Recovery, Defends Fed Actions

Source: WSJ

Posted on 15 Sep 2009

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U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday repeated his cautiously optimistic view that the recession is ending but recovery from the global crisis will be very gradual.

After contracting sharply over the past year, economic activity appears to be leveling out, both in the United States and abroad, and the prospects for a return to growth in the near term appear good," he said in a speech that's identical to one he delivered at a key economics conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., in late August.

Speaking at a Brookings Institution financial conference on Tuesday, he added that strains persist in financial markets and credit remains tight.

"Because of these and other factors, the economic recovery is likely to be relatively slow at first, with unemployment declining only gradually from high levels," he said.

Mr. Bernanke also defended the Fed's extraordinary actions to stem the crisis. Because of coordinated efforts among international leaders, the global economy is much improved compared to last year, when Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.'s collapse triggered panic in global markets around the world, he said. He added that without such a strong policy response, the global recession would have probably been much worse.

Mr. Bernanke also repeated his call for policy makers to reform financial regulations.