While he did announce the Federal Reserve will end its second round of quantitative easing on schedule, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke admitted that inflation will rise, which was the fear of those who criticized the program in the first place.
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.
Wednesday’s event marks the first regularly scheduled news conference by a Fed chairman in the central bank’s 97-year history.
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.
That’s a much different picture than the Associated Press decided to paint:
The Fed downplayed inflation risks. It acknowledged a spike in oil prices, but concluded that the pickup in inflation will be temporary.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke spoke at a historic news conference after the meeting. It was the first time in the Fed’s 98-year history that a chairman has begun holding regular sessions with reporters.
Bernanke said Fed officials expect the moderate economic recovery to continue after weak growth in the first three months of the year.