Looks like Ben Bernanke has - in typically cryptic Federal Reserve Board fashion - done his best to defuse investors' concerns that last Friday's gangbuster U.S. employment report has ratcheted up the Fed's timing to begin raising interest rates.
Here's the text of Bernanke Speech today:
"In closing, I will again note that in the fall of last year, the United States,
indeed the world, confronted a financial crisis of a magnitude unseen for
generations. Concerted actions by the Federal Reserve and other policymakers
here and abroad helped avoid the worst outcomes. Nevertheless, the turmoil
dealt a severe blow to our economy from which we have only recently begun to
recover. The improvement in financial conditions this year and the resumption
of growth over the summer offer the hope and expectation of continued recovery
in the new year. However, significant headwinds remain, including tight credit
conditions and a weak job market.
The Federal Reserve has been aggressive in its efforts to stabilize our
financial system and to support economic activity. At some point, however, we
will need to unwind our accommodative policies in order to avoid higher
inflation in the future. I am confident we have both the tools and the
commitment to make that adjustment when it is needed and in a manner consistent
with our mandate to foster employment and price stability.
In the meantime, financial firms must do a better job of managing the risks of
their business, regulators--the Federal Reserve included--must complete a
thoroughgoing overhaul of their approach to supervision, and the Congress
should move forward in making needed changes to our system of financial
regulation to avoid a similar crisis in the future. In particular, we must
solve the problem of "too big to fail."
In sum, we have come a long way from the darkest period of the crisis, but we
have some distance yet to go. In the midst of some of the toughest days, in
October 2008, I said in a speech that I was confident that the American
economy, with its great intrinsic vitality, would emerge from that period with
renewed vigor.(8) I remain equally confident today."
Read the rest of the speech he gave today: