Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday a strong, stable dollar is in U.S. and global economic interests but could not say how long the Fed would maintain the loose monetary policy that has been blamed for its current weakness.
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN, CO-CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER AT PACIFIC INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT CO.
He provided a good and informative context for the FOMC's economic projections, thinking and policy stance. He dealt skillfully with difficult questions, albeit somewhat tentatively at a couple of times and by eluding some issues rather than addressing them directly.
MICHAEL ROCHE, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND EMERGING MARKET DEBT STRATEGIST, MF GLOBAL, NEW YORK
He is very poised for a first time press conference, especially, I thought, the confidence showed in taking of live questions from the assembled reporters. He is staying on message and he is handling himself well.
It's a welcome development for market participants to have the head of monetary policy in the country delivering the details to the policy decision so quickly after they have been made. I give him full marks. I give him an A for today's effort.
DAVID JOY, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, COLUMBIA MANAGEMENT, BOSTON
His tone seems a little professorial, in the sense of feeling it is necessary to explain what he means by certain statements. For example, why zero inflation is not a target.
CARY LEAHEY, MANAGING DIRECTOR AND SENIOR ECONOMIST, DECISION ECONOMICS, NEW YORK
Unlike Trump, Bernanke does not crave the spotlight. So he is doing this because he thinks it is the right thing to do, not to promote Bernanke, Inc.
He did make two interesting comments. He hinted that he would like to continue the quantitative easing program but said the trade-offs were less attractive because inflation is higher. And the second one, which is more important from an operational standpoint, is that the first step in a tightening process would be a passive shrinking of the balance sheet by letting maturing securities roll off.
But once they get to the end of June, they will keep the balance sheet stable initially. They have to take baby steps. You can't give him a grade lower than an A-. It's not like we're watching Mr, Excitement or even Mr. Fisher.
CHRIS RUPKEY, CHIEF FINANCIAL ECONOMIST, BANK OF TOKYO-MITSUBISHI UFJ, NEW YORK
The Chairman gets an A+ for effort in the attempt to expand market communication and downplay those more critical voices on the fringes of the FOMC. We need to know what the Fed's central case is and the press conference underlined that.
For the overall grade, I would trim it to an A- because it seems the original reasons for QE2 are gone now, and I would have liked to see some acknowledgment on the Fed's part that this low interest rate world will not be with us forever. The unemployment rate is falling so it is no longer as appropriate for the Fed to have their foot down hard of the gas pedal.
STOCKS: U.S. stocks were near session highs.
BONDS: U.S. bond prices hit session lows.
FOREX: The dollar remained weak versus the euro, keeping near session lows.