WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Saturday the U.S. central bank would use all of its tools to stabilize financial markets and pull the economy out of recession.
“At the Federal Reserve, we will continue to forcefully deploy all the tools at our disposal as long as necessary to support the restoration of financial stability and the resumption of healthy economic growth,” he said in remarks prepared for delivery at a naming ceremony in Dillon, South Carolina.
A copy of his remarks was distributed in Washington.
Bernanke, who grew up in Dillon, where his family operated a drugstore, spoke at a ceremony naming Exit 190 of Interstate 95 in his honor.
Bernanke is due to give a speech in Washington next week on financial regulation.
The Fed lowered benchmark interest rates to near zero in December, the last of seven rate cuts in 2008 that took the fed funds rate down from 4.25 percent at the beginning the year in one of the most aggressive rate-cutting sprees in the central bank’s history.
In addition to chopping rates, the Fed has pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into financial markets in what Bernanke calls “credit easing” to revive economic activity.
The U.S. economy slid into recession beginning in December 2007 after the collapse of housing markets led to mortgage failures and huge losses at financial institutions. Economic distress gained momentum in September with the failure of investment bank Lehman Brothers and the government rescue of insurer American International Group Inc.
Reporting by Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Leslie Adler