August 21st, 2009 12:53 PM by Preston Ware
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. — Ben S. Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, offered his most hopeful assessment in more than a year on Friday, asserting that “the prospects for a return to growth in the near term appear good.”
Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, arrives at the morning session of the conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., on Friday.
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In a much-awaited speech here to central bankers and economists from around the world, Mr. Bernanke went beyond the Fed’s most recent assessment that the nation’s economy was “leveling out” and that the recession was ending.
Noting that short-term lending markets are functioning “more normally,” that corporate bond issuance is strong and that other “previously moribund” securitization markets are reviving, Mr. Bernanke said that both the United States and other major countries were poised for growth.
In emphasizing not just the imminent end of the recession — the worst since at least the early 1980s if not since the Great Depression — but also the “good” chances of actual growth, Mr. Bernanke’s assessment was in some ways surprising.