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Chairman Ben S. Bernanke Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress

“Chairman Hensarling, Ranking Member Waters, and other members of the Committee, I am pleased to present the Federal Reserve’s semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress. I will discuss current economic conditions and the outlook and then turn to monetary policy. I’ll finish with a short summary of our ongoing work on regulatory reform. The Economic Outlook – The economic recovery has continued at a moderate pace in recent quarters despite the strong headwinds created by federal fiscal policy. Housing has contributed significantly to recent gains in economic activity. Home sales, house prices, and residential construction have moved up over the past year, supported by low mortgage rates and improved confidence in both the housing market and the economy. Rising housing construction and home sales are adding to job growth, and substantial increases in home prices are bolstering household finances and consumer spending while reducing the number of homeowners with underwater mortgages. Housing activity and prices seem likely to continue to recover, notwithstanding the recent increases in mortgage rates, but it will be important to monitor developments in this sector carefully.”

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