Below are highlights from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's news conference following the Fed's policy meeting on Wednesday.
BERNANKE ON GREEK CRISIS
I think the Europeans appreciate the incredible importance of resolving the Greek situation. If there were a failure to resolve that situation it would pose threats to the European financial system, the global financial system, and to European political unity I would conjecture as well. So yes, we did discuss it and it is one of several potential financial risks that we are facing now.
But again we are mostly just following the situation closely and making sure that as best we can that our own institutions are as well positioned relative to sovereign debt in the so-called peripheral countries.
BERNANKE ON REDUCED PACE OF RECOVERY
The reduced pace of the recovery partly reflects factors that are likely to be temporary. In particular, consumers' purchasing power has been damaged by higher food and energy prices and the aftermath of the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan has been associated with disruptions in local supply chains, especially in the auto sector. However some moderation in gasoline prices is now a prospect and the effects of the Japanese disaster and manufacturing output are likely to dissipate in coming months. Consequently...the committee expects that the pace of economic recovery will pick up overcoming quarters.