Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, said the central bank is prepared to stimulate growth if the economy deteriorates, but officials are also ready to increase interest rates and rein in the balance sheet. "We will continue to carefully assess ongoing financial and economic developments, and we remain prepared to take further policy actions as needed to foster a return to full utilization of our nation's productive potential in a context of price stability," Bernanke told the Senate banking committee.

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