Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, made his strongest signal yet that the central bank is prepared to ease monetary policy further if the economic recovery continues to weaken. Speaking at the Fed's annual symposium, Bernanke outlined the deteriorating economic outlook and reminded participants of tools that the Fed has at its disposal to boost the recovery. "The issue at this stage is not whether we have the tools to help support economic activity and guard against inflation," Bernanke said. "We do."

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