Bernanke Doesn't Rule Out QE Exceeding $600 Billion

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke defended the Fed’s decision to purchase $600 billion in Treasury securities and didn’t rule out expanding the program, in an interview for CBS television’s “60 Minutes,” the network said.

“He explains why the Fed announced its intention to buy $600 billion in Treasury securities, defending against charges the move will lead to inflation and not ruling out the purchase of more,” according to a press release today from CBS.

The interview with CBS journalist Scott Pelley was filmed Nov. 30 in Columbus, Ohio and will air Dec. 5.

At its Nov. 3 meeting in Washington, the Fed announced the program to purchase about $75 billion a month of Treasury securities through June. The Fed’s Open Market Committee said it would “regularly review the pace of its securities purchases and the overall size of the asset-purchase program.”

Republican leaders criticized the second round of so-called quantitative easing last month, where the Fed attempts to provide additional monetary stimulus by purchasing Treasury debt. The Fed’s benchmark lending rate has been in a range of zero to 0.25 percent since December 2008.

The news show’s website previously stated that Bernanke will discuss “pressing economic issues” such as U.S. unemployment, the federal deficit and the central bank’s decision last month to purchase an additional $600 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds.

Bernanke also appeared on “60 Minutes” in March 2009.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joshua Zumbrun in Washington at jzumbrun@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

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