Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner may be off the scene at the Jackson Hole economic symposium this week, but the mountains will be the same — and the economic questions just as large.

ANDREW HARRER • Bloomberg News,

Bernanke passes up Jackson Hole monetary conference

  • Article by: Steve Matthews and Joshua Zumbrun
  • Bloomberg News
  • August 22, 2013 - 7:22 PM


– The Federal Reserve’s annual monetary conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., will probably focus on global central banks as Ben Bernanke becomes the first Fed chairman to pass up the meeting since 1988.

“In recent years we’ve all been looking for clues and signals from the Fed, and that won’t happen this time,” said Eric Green, global head of research for TD Securities in New York and a former New York Fed economist. “It will be a very international view of monetary policies,” with a focus on how “global reflation is persisting at a slower rate.”

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and Bank of Mexico Governor Agustin Carstens are among the speakers the three-day symposium held by the Kansas City Fed that started Thursday, entitled “Global Dimensions of Unconventional Monetary Policy.” With Bernanke staying away, there will be no keynote address.

As the Fed debates the timing of tapering record stimulus, other central banks are pumping up accommodation. Kuroda aims to shake off deflation by doubling Japan’s monetary base by the end of 2014. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has pledged to hold euro-area monetary policy “accommodative for as long as necessary,” and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has said he doesn’t expect to raise rates until at least 2016.

Neither Carney nor Draghi is on the list of conference attendees. Bank of England Deputy Governor Charles Bean and Frank Smets, research director from the ECB, are scheduled to give remarks.

Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen and former Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer will moderate discussions. Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, will give a lunchtime address on the first full day of the meeting Friday.

The Fed said in April that Bernanke, who has given the introductory speech every year since becoming Fed chairman in 2006, won’t attend the conference because of a personal scheduling conflict. Bernanke’s term expires in January, and President Obama is considering candidates to succeed him, including Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers.

Bernanke, like his predecessors Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker, has used the conference in the Grand Tetons to set his policy agenda. In 2010 and 2012, he signaled new rounds of bond buying aimed at fueling growth and combating unemployment. The purchases have helped balloon Fed assets to a record $3.65 trillion.

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