Daily Archives: April 25, 2012

Claire Jones

Bernanke at the January presser. Image by Getty.

Bernanke at the January presser. Image by Getty.

Hello and welcome to today’s live blog on Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s press conference.

All times are London time (local time in Washington, DC is five hours behind).

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20.15 This live blog is now closed.

20.10 The Fed chairman didn’t give much away there.

Launched as part of Mr Bernanke’s attempts to make monetary policy more transparent, the projections on when individual FOMC members want interest rates to rise appear to have backfired. On the evidence of this presser, they are doing more to confuse the press than clarify Fed policy. 

The Bank of Japan’s monetary policy decision on Friday has been powerfully talked up by analysts and officials alike, with the bank under real political pressure to satisfy market expectations and announce new easing measures that target inflation and growth.

The BoJ surprised markets on February 14 when it announced an increase in its asset-purchasing programme to Y65tn from Y55tn, and an explicit inflation target of 1 per cent. But at its last policy meeting on April 10 it decided not to implement additional monetary easing.

Now however, the bank’s officials seem desperate to talk down the yen while nearly everyone else appears content to believe they can do more than just talk.

 

Chris Giles

Britain is back in recession – gross domestic product fell by 0.2 per cent in the first quarter of this year – following a 0.3 per cent fall at the end of 2011. What should we make of the figures?

1. Is this a deep recession?

No. It is nothing like 2008-09 when output dropped 7 per cent over five quarters. In truth, as Joe Grice, chief economist of the Office for National Statistics said, the economy has been broadly flat since the third quarter of 2010. Some quarters up a bit, the others down. The level of output is now measured at an index number of 98.1 (2008=100) and it was 98.3 in the autumn of 2010.