Bernanke not so upbeat on the economy

“We are looking very carefully at the economy, trying to judge whether or not the loss of momentum we’ve seen recently is enduring, and whether or not the economy is likely to continue to make progress,” he said, warning that progress in reducing a 8.2 per cent unemployment rate “seems likely to be frustratingly slow”. …

The Fed chairman set out a list of options for further easing but refused to say which he might prefer. “The logical range includes different types of purchase programs. That could include Treasuries or include Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. Those are the two things we’re allowed to buy,” he said. …

Mr Bernanke chided Congress for its failure to act on fiscal policy, citing it as one of two main risks to the economy alongside the eurozone crisis, and warning against a repeat of the market volatility and loss of economic confidence caused by last summer’s debacle over raising the debt ceiling.