OLD Media Moves

Bernanke says comments to Bartiromo were a mistake

May 23, 2006

Federal Reserve board chairman Ben Bernanke testified before Congress on Tuesday, and he called his comments to CNBC business journalism Maria Bartrimo at the White House Correspondents Association dinner a mistake. Bartiromo aried a report that noted Bernanke felt that the market and the media had misinterpreted his opinion about the economy, which caused the market to drop.

Ben BernankeThis wire report noted, “Responding to questions from Sen. Jim Bunning (R., Ky.) at a hearing on financial literacy, Mr. Bernanke pledged that he would make future communications through normal channels.

“Ms. Bartiromo caused a stir in financial markets when she reported that Mr. Bernanke told her at the White House correspondents’ dinner in late April that financial markets had misconstrued previous congressional testimony. Many analysts had taken that testimony to suggest the central bank was prepared to pause its nearly two-year rate-increase campaign, and Ms. Bartiromo’s report caused a jump in Treasury yields.

“‘In the future, my communications to the public and to the markets will be entirely through regular and formal channels,’ Mr. Bernanke said.

“Mr. Bernanke was also challenged by Mr. Bunning on the Fed’s most recent decision to raise the Federal funds rate by a quarter percentage point to 5%, a 16th-straight increase of that magnitude. Mr. Bunning said those rate increases have made it tougher for U.S. households to borrow.”

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