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Hilsenrath: What Bernanke Means

 Here is a look at key passages in the testimony and what they signal:

1) WHAT HE SAID: “The risks remain that tight fiscal policy will restrain economic growth over the next few quarters by more than we currently expect, or that the debate concerning other fiscal policy issues, such as the status of the debt ceiling, will evolve in a way that could hamper the recovery. More generally, with the recovery still proceeding at only a moderate pace, the economy remains vulnerable to unanticipated shocks, including the possibility that global economic growth may be slower than currently anticipated.”

WHAT IT MEANS: Lots of focus on downside risks here, which is striking because the Fed said in its June policy statement that downside risks to the economy had diminished. That’s a slightly “dovish” tilt toward easy money.

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