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Bernanke meets the press

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke broke with tradition by holding a press conference after a policy-making meeting.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke broke with tradition by holding a press conference following this week’s meeting of the policy-making Open Market Committee. He confirmed that the Fed’s $600 billion Treasury program of bond-purchasing, or quantitative easing, would end by July 1, and that the Fed would maintain its benchmark short-term interest rate at 0.25 percent.

Bernanke noted that prices for gasoline have spiked in the second quarter, but said those increases were probably “transitory.” And he predicted that the unemployment rate, currently at 8.8 percent, would gradually decline to between 6.8 percent and 7.2 percent by the end of 2012.

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