Heather Stewart
London Observer
August 21, 2011

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke will face intense pressure to announce new measures to calm the world’s frenzied financial markets this week, as central bankers hold their annual summer retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

After a tumultuous week, which saw billions of dollars wiped off share prices on both sides of the Atlantic, investors will be hoping for a signal that the Fed has more policy options to tackle the crisis.

Bernanke is due to speak on Friday, on the topic of “Near- and Long-Term Prospects for the US Economy”. He used his speech at last year’s gathering to pave the way for “QEII”, the Fed’s second round of quantitative easing, the radical policy of pumping electronically created money into the economy to avoid deflation.

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However, analysts warned that having already announced a two-year interest rate freeze – a move that caused markets to rise for just five days before plunging back into the red – Bernanke may have little new to say.

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