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Fed Chief Rejects Idea of ‘Bernanke Put’

Sunday, 07 Nov 2010 02:35 PM

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the idea that he’s committed to preventing big stock-market declines is incorrect and that distortions in asset prices are more damaging to the U.S. economy when created by changes in credit rather than in equities.

“If it is a credit bubble, which is highly levered and leads to a loss of capital and loss of capacity to intermediate new credit, then the damage is much, much greater,” Bernanke said Saturday in a panel discussion at a Fed conference in Jekyll Island, Georgia.

“What that suggests is all this talk about the Greenspan put, the Greenspan-Bernanke put or whatever,” implying a backstop for stock prices, “is beside the point,” Bernanke said. “The real issue is what can we do to keep our financial intermediation system strong.”

“An equity bubble, particularly if it is an unlevered bubble, is the loss of wealth” and typically “is going to be absorbable by the system, as we saw in 1987,” said Bernanke, who spoke on the panel alongside his predecessor, Alan Greenspan, and former New York Fed President E. Gerald Corrigan.

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Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the idea that he s committed to preventing big stock-market declines is incorrect and that distortions in asset prices are more damaging to the U.S. economy when created by changes in credit rather than in equities. If it is a...
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2010-35-07
Sunday, 07 Nov 2010 02:35 PM
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