January 28, 2012
The Federal Reserve's announcement that short-term interest rates are likely to stay low for two years or more drew the usual mix of catcalls and huzzahs, with critics saying the Fed was dooming the country to debilitating inflation and supporters saying it was sensibly encouraging economic growth. Some veteran Fed watchers, however, complained that Chairman Ben S. Bernanke was revealing too much about the board's thinking, which used to be cloaked in the kind of secrecy reserved for missile launch codes and CIA threat assessments.
March 25, 2010 |
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the U.S. economy still needs low interest rates and that the central bank will be ready to tighten credit "at the appropriate time." "The economy continues to require the support of accommodative monetary policies," Bernanke said Thursday in prepared testimony to the House Financial Services Committee, repeating parts of a statement to the panel from last month. "However, we have been working to ensure that we have the tools to reverse, at the appropriate time, the currently very high degree of monetary stimulus."
March 17, 2010 |
Steady as it goes, Federal Reserve policymakers declared in their post-meeting statement Tuesday. They left their benchmark short-term interest rate unchanged in the range of zero to 0.25% and once again pledged to keep it low for an "extended period" -- retaining the phrase they've used for the last year. The central bank continued to sound relatively upbeat about the economy, saying the data it looks at suggest that "economic activity has continued to strengthen and that the labor market is stabilizing."
February 20, 2010 |
How much of an economic recovery can we stand? With the Federal Reserve now looking serious about taking away some of the unprecedented support it has provided to the banking system and the economy, policymakers are posing a whole new set of challenges for financial markets. Stocks, bonds, real estate and commodities all have fed off cheap credit for the last year, which is why even the hint of higher short-term interest rates could be unsettling for them. But not so far: On Friday, U.S. markets were generally calm after the Fed late Thursday announced that it would raise the "discount rate" that banks pay for loans from the Fed to 0.75% from 0.50%.
February 18, 2010 |
The Federal Reserve took its most notable step so far toward unwinding some of the extraordinary measures it took to prop up the economy during the financial crisis. The central bank Thursday raised the interest rate that banks pay to borrow money during emergencies. The hike in the so-called discount rate to 0.75% from 0.5% was widely expected and does not foreshadow an immediate rise in consumer loan rates. The central bank went out of its way to stress that it expected the federal funds rate, which influences credit card and other consumer loan rates, to remain "exceptionally low" for "an extended period."
August 13, 2009 |
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday left interest rates near zero and said that the economy, while on more stable footing, was likely to remain weak for some time. The Fed gave no indication that, despite improving signs in the economy, it was considering imminent hikes in the key federal funds rate, the rate banks charge one another for overnight loans. Policymakers at the central bank voted 10-0 to maintain the rate between zero and 0.25%, where it has been since December, and reiterated that it would likely keep it there for "an extended period."