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Bernanke Signals Europe Risk Keeps Fed Ready to Ease Further

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke signaled he’s concerned Europe’s crisis will hobble a 2 1/2-year U.S. expansion that may need another boost from the central bank.

The Fed’s policy-setting panel, which met in Washington yesterday, said the economy “has been expanding moderately,” compared with the Nov. 2 assessment that growth “strengthened somewhat.” At the same time, the central bank added a reference to “apparent slowing in global growth,” and said that “strains in global financial markets continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook.”