Bernanke Says Fed Considers Emerging Markets When Making Policy

Former Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke
During his eight-year tenure as Federal Reserve chief, Ben S. Bernanke presided over the longest recession since the 1930s. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The U.S. Federal Reserve considers developments in emerging markets when formulating policies, former Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said.

“There is a perception in some quarters that the U.S. doesn’t listen to emerging markets,” Bernanke said today in Mumbai. “Nothing could be further from the truth. We have always listened to what emerging markets have had to say.”

Bernanke sparred with Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan in Washington last week over how much international policy coordination is needed at a time when the Fed is slowing asset purchases and the European Central Bank is debating whether to begin its own quantitative easing program. Rajan has said that U.S. should do more to take into account the impact of its policies on other countries.

During his eight-year tenure as Fed chief, Bernanke presided over the longest recession since the 1930s. He lowered the Fed’s target interest rate to zero in December 2008 and initiated three rounds of large-scale bond purchases that pushed the Fed’s balance sheet to more than $4 trillion.

The U.S. economy is on a “somewhat” stronger path now as the most intense phase of the economic crisis is past and household wealth has been restored, Bernanke said today at the event organized by Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. for its clients.

A failure to take into account spillover effects on other economies from a rollback of unconventional policies would spark “reactive policies” such as currency interventions, Rajan said on April 10 at a conference organized by the Brookings Institution.

Emerging Markets

Bernanke, who was in the audience, said the comment reflected Rajan’s skepticism about unconventional monetary policies. Fed officials frequently meet with counterparts in developing nations, Bernanke said.

“Emerging markets are probably better off than if these policies had not been used,” said Bernanke, who left the Fed in February and now works at Brookings.

“I am more optimistic that QE can be effective” than Rajan, Bernanke said today.

The dollar will strengthen against 35 of 43 currencies in the rest of this year as the Fed continues to pare stimulus, according to Bloomberg data based on median forecasts from strategists.

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