Fed chairman Bernanke to give press conferences

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke
Image caption Mr Bernanke has faced the press before, taking after-speech questions and giving lengthy interviews

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke is to give regular press conferences.

He will take questions four times a year, to coincide with the Fed's quarterly economic forecasts, with the first due on 27 April.

The 98-year-old US monetary authority has never opened up in this way before, and until 1994 did not even announce its interest rate decisions.

It comes after the Fed was criticised for its secretiveness about actions taken during the 2008 financial crisis.

Earlier this week the central bank lost a court case, forcing it to disclose the names of banks that received emergency loans during the financial meltdown.


Mr Bernanke's decision brings him into line with other central bankers.

The European Central Bank president, Jean-Claude Trichet, gives a press conference after every committee meeting, while the Bank of England governor, Mervyn King, gives quarterly briefings to the press.

The Fed chairman, whose words can move the markets, has a history of opening up the traditionally opaque institution.

He has already given two in-depth television interviews, and has taken questions after speeches. He also arranged an unusual video-conference last autumn.

"The introduction of regular press briefings is intended to further enhance the clarity and timeliness of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy communications," it said in a statement on its website.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites