The Federal Reserve said Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will hold press conferences after policy meetings four times per year and that the central bank will release statements almost two hours earlier for those events.
The first briefing is scheduled for April 27 at 2:15 p.m. Washington time, the Fed said today in a statement. The Federal Open Market Committee’s statement will be released at 12:30 p.m. on the days when Bernanke is speaking, instead of the normal time of 2:15 p.m., the central bank said.
The announcement marks the biggest change to the Fed’s public-communication policy since 2007, when the central bank doubled the frequency of published economic forecasts to four times a year. Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen led a group of officials tasked in November with reviewing practices to determine where to draw the line between confidential policy discussions and public comments.
“The introduction of regular press briefings is intended to further enhance the clarity and timeliness of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy communication,” the central bank said in its statement. “The Federal Reserve will continue to review its communications practices in the interest of ensuring accountability and increasing public understanding.”
Bernanke had been the only head of a Group of Seven nations central bank not to give press conferences to explain actions and projections.
European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet and Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa each hold one after every policy meeting, while Bank of England Governor Mervyn King speaks once a quarter. Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney also holds regular briefings.
The other press briefings this year will be June 22 and Nov. 2, both following FOMC meetings when governors and regional Fed presidents present updated economic forecasts. Bernanke is holding briefings to discuss the projections and “to provide additional context for the FOMC’s policy decisions,” the Fed said.
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