Thursday, April 28, 2011

Federal Reserve admits inflation, stunted growth starting to sweep America

In his first regular news conference, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank was continuing its stimulus policy because it was projecting slower growth in the economy with only a modest uptick in inflation.

The Fed cut its growth estimate for 2011 to between 3.1 percent and 3.3 percent from a January forecast of 3.4 percent to 3.9 percent.

The Fed also raised its estimate of inflation this year to a range of 2.1 percent to 2.8 percent, taking into account a recent surge in oil prices. However, it bumped its core inflation forecasts only marginally to a 1.3 percent to 1.6 percent range.

As for unemployment, it lowered its forecast but said it would stay elevated over its three-year forecast period. For 2011, the Fed said it expects the unemployment rate to land in a 8.4-8.7 percent range, better than a range of 8.8-9.0 percent forecast in January.

"The markdown of growth in 2011, in particular, reflects the somewhat slower than anticipated pace of growth in the first quarter," Bernanke said in prepared remarks before he took reporter questions. (read more)