At his previous quarterly news conference in January, Mr. Bernanke said a third round of bond buying, known as quantitative easing, was an option that was “certainly on the table.”
But more recently, Mr. Bernanke and other Fed officials have sounded less inclined to pursue further bond purchases. Private economists expect the Fed to keep more bond buying as at least an option. They have pointed to the cloudy state of the economy in light of Europe’s debt crisis, a potential new spike in oil prices and still-high unemployment.
On Friday, the government will issue its first estimate of economic growth for the January-March quarter. Many economists are predicting an annual growth rate of 2.5 percent — better than they had expected when the year began.
But analysts are concerned that growth could weaken in the current quarter, reflecting payback from an unusually warm winter that boosted economic activity in the first quarter.
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