Bernanke bullish on upturn

THE US economy will continue to recover at a moderate pace in coming quarters, bolstered by a return of business and consumer spending, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said yesterday.

According to the Fed’s beige book, the majority of US districts saw a rise in retail, mining and energy, and manufacturing activity levels.

The housing sector, however, continued to struggle as commercial real estate activity levels remained weak.

The report followed Bernanke’s testimony to the US Congressional Joint Economic Committee, that economic recovery appeared to have begun during the latter half of last year. He credited the turnaround to fiscal policies and monetary stimulation put into place by policymakers.

But, he said that despite strength in the banking sector, credit issues meant the number of loans to businesses by banks continued to fall.