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Fed nearing a plan to clarify direction of rates

December 13, 2011 • National News


FILE – In this Sept. 30, 2010 file photo, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the Senate Banking Committee. The Federal Reserve under Bernanke has gone further than ever to explain its policies to the public. It’s ready to go further still. A Fed policy meeting Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011, will likely focus, in part, on an evolving plan to reveal the direction of interest rates more explicitly. The Fed may decide, for example, to regularly update the public on how long it plans to keep short-term rates at record lows. The new communications strategy could be unveiled as soon as next month. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve under Ben Bernanke has gone further than ever to explain its policies to the public. It’s ready to go further still.

A Fed policy meeting Tuesday will likely focus, in part, on an evolving plan to reveal the direction of interest rates more explicitly. The Fed may decide, for example, to regularly update the public on how long it plans to keep short-term rates at record lows.

The new communications strategy could be unveiled as soon as next month.

Most analysts expect no announcements Tuesday about the new strategy or any further steps to try to strengthen the economy. They think the Fed wants to delay any new programs, such as additional bond purchases, to see if the economy can continue the modest gains it’s been making.

Still, the U.S. economy remains vulnerable, especially to the impact of the financial crisis and likely recession in Europe. So the Fed is keeping its options open.

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