Federal Reserve to continue Operation Twist

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks during a news conference June 20, 2012 in Washington, DC. The Federal Reserve announced that it will commit $267 billion to continue the central bank’s Operation Twist program to keep long-term interest rates low.

Kai Ryssdal: We'll go straight to the top story of the day. The meeting of the Federal Reserve that wrapped up this afternoon. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke had a press conference shortly thereafter.

Ben Bernanke: Good afternoon. As indicated in the statement released earlier this afternoon...

"Seinfeld" clip: Yada yada yada.

And Mr. Bernanke went on to say...

Bernanke: In addition, the committee decided to continue through the end of the year...

"Peanuts" clip: Wah wah wah wah wah.

OK, I kid, but you get the point. There wasn't all that much new in the Fed's statement today. They are going to continue what's come to be called Operation Twist through the end of the year, buying long-term Treasury bills to drive those long-term interest rates down.

Other than that, the Fed chairman said he's ready to do more. Just not quite yet. What's he waiting for?

I'm glad you asked.

Bernanke: We're looking primarily at the labor market in this respect -- if we're not seeing a sustained improvement in the labor market, that would require additional action.

Next jobs report? Two weeks from this Friday, the 6th of July.

If you wanna know more about what the Fed did and didn't do today, our New York bureau chief Heidi Moore has just the thing for you. Here's her explainer.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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