Fed no less committed to stimulus after cut to QE: Bernanke

Fed no less committed to stimulus after cut to QE: Bernanke

PHILADELPHIA - The US Federal Reserve is no less committed to highly accommodative policy now that it has trimmed its bond-buying stimulus, Ben Bernanke said on Friday in what could be his last speech as Fed chairman.

Bernanke, who steps down as head of the US central bank at month's end, gave an upbeat assessment of the US economy in coming quarters.

But he tempered the positive signs in the housing sector, financial markets and fiscal policies by repeating that the overall recovery "clearly remains incomplete" in the United States.

In what came as a surprise to some, the Fed decided last month to cut its asset-purchase programme, known as quantitative easing, or QE, by $10 billion to $75 billion per month.

It cited a stronger job market and economic growth in its landmark decision, which amounted to the beginning of the end of the largest monetary policy experiment ever.

But that decision "did not indicate any diminution of (the Fed's) commitment to maintain a highly accommodative monetary policy for as long as needed," Bernanke said at an American Economic Association forum in a snow-swept Philadelphia.

"Rather, it reflected the progress we have made toward our goal of substantial improvement in the labour market outlook that we set out when we began the current purchase programme in September 2012," he said.

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