Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bernanke criticizes China, Supports additional fiscal stimulus

by Bill McBride on 11/18/2010 10:25:00 PM

Here are two speeches from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke:

Rebalancing the Global Recovery

[O]n its current economic trajectory the United States runs the risk of seeing millions of workers unemployed or underemployed for many years. As a society, we should find that outcome unacceptable. Monetary policy is working in support of both economic recovery and price stability, but there are limits to what can be achieved by the central bank alone. The Federal Reserve is nonpartisan and does not make recommendations regarding specific tax and spending programs. However, in general terms, a fiscal program that combines near-term measures to enhance growth with strong, confidence-inducing steps to reduce longer-term structural deficits would be an important complement to the policies of the Federal Reserve.
And on China:
The exchange rate adjustment is incomplete, in part, because the authorities in some emerging market economies have intervened in foreign exchange markets to prevent or slow the appreciation of their currencies. ... why have officials in many emerging markets leaned against appreciation of their currencies toward levels more consistent with market fundamentals? The principal answer is that currency undervaluation on the part of some countries has been part of a long-term export-led strategy for growth and development. This strategy, which allows a country's producers to operate at a greater scale and to produce a more diverse set of products than domestic demand alone might sustain, has been viewed as promoting economic growth and, more broadly, as making an important contribution to the development of a number of countries. However, increasingly over time, the strategy of currency undervaluation has demonstrated important drawbacks, both for the world system and for the countries using that strategy.
And from Bernanke: Emerging from the Crisis: Where Do We Stand?
In the United States, we have seen a slowing of the pace of expansion since earlier this year. The unemployment rate has remained close to 10 percent since mid-2009, with a substantial fraction of the unemployed out of work for six months or longer. Moreover, inflation has been declining and is currently quite low, with measures of underlying inflation running close to 1 percent. Although we project that economic growth will pick up and unemployment decline somewhat in the coming year, progress thus far has been disappointingly slow.
Reports on the speeches:

From the NY Times: Bernanke Speech Offers Support for Obama Policy

From Bloomberg: Bernanke Steps Up Stimulus Defense, Turns Tables on China

From the WSJ: Bernanke Takes Aim at China