The U.S. Federal Reserve is “confident” of its ability to stem inflation after what’s likely to be an “extended period” for policies aimed at restarting lending, Chairman Ben S . Bernanke said.
“When the economic outlook requires us to do so,” the central bank will employ a series of tools to tighten policy, Bernanke said, writing in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.
Bernanke outlined five ways the central bank will be able to prevent the record reserves that banks have accumulated from causing money supply and inflation to surge. Officials will use the interest rate on banks’ deposits with the Fed as a principal tool, which they can supplement with other means, including reverse-repurchase agreements and term deposits, he said.
The opinion piece, a day before Bernanke’s semiannual monetary-policy testimony to Congress, signals he’s seeking to reassure investors that the Fed will contain consumer prices when the economy recovers.
“Bernanke is preparing the market by communicating at an early stage,” said Seiji Shiraishi, chief economist for Japan at HSBC Securities Japan Ltd. in Tokyo. “Whether they can do that will depend on the strength of the cyclical recovery and the soundness of the banks.”