Bernanke defends Federal Reserve stimulus measures

Ben Bernanke
Image caption Ben Bernanke said the Fed's measures help the global economy, not just the US

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has defended the central bank's measures to bolster the US economy.

Brazil has said US monetary easing to keep interest rates low and weaken the dollar has hurt emerging economies.

And International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde warned on Sunday of consequent asset bubbles developing in emerging nations.

But Mr Bernanke said that measures taken by the Fed and other central banks boosted global growth.

The Fed has maintained a low interest rate policy for several years, pumping about $2.3 trillion into the US economy to bolster growth.

There have also been huge stimulus measures in Europe and Japan.

Critics say such moves, especially by the US, drive down the value of the dollar and spark capital flows into emerging nations.

Speaking in Tokyo, where the International Monetary Fund and World Bank are holding annual meetings, Mr Bernanke said: "The linkage between advanced-economy monetary policies and international capital flows is looser than is sometimes asserted."

The Fed's measures not only strengthened the US recovery, he said, "but by boosting US spending and growth, it has the effect of helping to support the global economy as well".

On Friday, Brazil's finance minister, Guido Mantega, warned that his country would take "whatever measures it deems necessary" to fight the problem.

"Emerging markets can't passively endure large and volatile capital flows and currency fluctuations caused by rich countries' policies," Mr Mantega said in Tokyo.

'Diverging views'

"Advanced countries cannot count on exporting their way out of the crisis at the expense of emerging-market economies," he said. "Currency wars will only compound the world's economic difficulties."

In a speech at the end of the IMF meeting, Ms Lagarde said: "We have seen several bold initiatives by major central banks certainly that the IMF highly praises and values as major contributing factors to stability."

But she acknowledged that "there are diverging views within and across countries about important issues including the management of capital flows".

She said monetary easing "could strain the capacity of those economies to absorb the potentially large flows and could lead to overheating asset price bubbles.

"Disagreement might be unavoidable but we must not forget that we all have a stake in global financial stability," she said.

"Given the cross-border spillover effect of monetary policy decisions, central banks may need to step up their international dialogue and co-operation."

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