WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday slapped financial sanctions on a Greek businessman for secretly operating a shipping network on behalf of the Iranian government to get around international sanctions on the country’s sale of oil.
“Today, we are lifting the veil on an intricate Iranian scheme that was designed to evade international oil sanctions,” U.S. Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence David Cohen said in a statement.
WASHINGTON, March 8 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve may
consider holding mortgage-backed securities, or MBS, longer on
its balance sheet to minimize market disruption instead of
selling them as it exits easy monetary policy in the future, a
top Fed official said on Friday.
Fed Governor Elizabeth Duke also said the broad recovery in
U.S. housing was likely to strengthen as an improving economy
unleashed pent-up demand, but she warned that tight credit
conditions could be a drag on the upswing.
WASHINGTON, March 7 (Reuters) – U.S. household debt grew at
its fastest pace since early 2008 in the fourth quarter of last
year, a possible sign that the painful process of paring back
borrowing in the aftermath of the financial crisis may have run
Household debt rose at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the
fourth quarter, the Federal Reserve said on Thursday in its
quarterly Flow of Funds report. It was the steepest gain since
the first quarter of 2008 and only the third quarter since then
in which debt levels rose.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Economic growth continued to improve gradually in January and early February as consumer spending picked up and the country’s battered housing market maintained a broad-based recovery, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday.
In a cautiously optimistic report from its 12 regional branches, the U.S. central bank also drew attention to stronger demand in the auto sector and for technology and logistics services, while emphasizing that price pressures remained muted.
WASHINGTON, March 5 (Reuters) – It wasn’t a fair fight. A
Republican-controlled committee of the U.S. House of
Representatives pitted three outspoken critics of the Federal
Reserve against a lonesome dove, who tried his best to defend
the central bank against charges it was ruining the country.
Entitled “Near-zero rates, near zero effect? Is
unconventional monetary policy really working?”, the hearing on
Tuesday before the subcommittee on monetary policy sought to
explore the risks of ultra-bold Fed actions to spur U.S. growth.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke strongly defended the U.S. central bank’s monetary stimulus before Congress on Tuesday, easing financial market worries over a possible early retreat from bond purchases.
Bernanke said Fed policymakers are cognizant of potential risks from their extraordinary support for the economy, including the possibility that it might fuel unwanted inflation or stoke asset bubbles.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke may be keeping quiet about his future plans, but he sure doesn’t sound like someone planning to seek Senate support for a third term at the helm of the U.S. central bank.
In unapologetic and sometimes testy exchanges before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, the Fed chief defended his record and dismissed one Senate critic in unusually blunt terms.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke strongly defended the U.S. central bank’s bond-buying stimulus before Congress on Tuesday, saying its benefits clearly exceed possible costs.
The Fed chairman also urged lawmakers to avoid sharp spending cuts set to go into effect on Friday, which he warned could combine with earlier tax increases to create a “significant headwind” for the economic recovery.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke faces the first of two days of congressional testimony that will subject the Fed’s controversial bond-buying program to tough scrutiny and gauge his confidence in the resilience of the U.S. economy.
Coming just a week after the Fed’s meeting minutes sent U.S. stocks reeling by suggesting the central bank could pull back its economic stimulus earlier than had been expected, and a day after another sharp stock market drop, investors are certain to hang on every word.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A number of Federal Reserve officials think the central bank might have to slow or stop buying bonds before seeing the pickup in hiring the program is designed to deliver, according to minutes of the central bank’s policy meeting last month.
The Fed opted in January to keep buying bonds at an $85 billion monthly pace until the labor market outlook improved substantially, but the minutes on Wednesday showed anxiety over the strategy’s risks – news that sent stocks sharply lower.