Ben Bernanke used his second-ever news conference on Wednesday to teach the world's financial markets a lot more about the thinking at the Federal Reserve than they could glean from its usual statements.
But the Fed chairman has yet to face one of the most important oral exams of his career: justifying and defending a change in the Fed's extraordinary monetary policy, when the time comes.
"There haven't been any big surprises or shifts in policy for Bernanke to sell," Paul Ashworth, chief US economist at Capital Economics said on Thursday. "When this will earn its money is when the market response to the [earlier] statement is one way and he is able to correct any misperceptions. That will be when the press conference really pays off."
Bernanke's news conferences mark an important departure from the Fed's approach to communications that for decades used to put a premium on secrecy.
The Fed's focus is now on clarity after the its decision last year to embark on a second $600 billion (Dh2.2 trillion) round of bond-buying touched off a political firestorm with politicians accusing the central bank of jeopardising the US dollar with its bold experiments in monetary policy.
Looking less nervous than in his first news conference in April, Bernanke took questions from reporters for an hour on Wednesday and, displaying his professorial background, sounded confident and calm in his answers. Bernanke's former number two said the gamble of exposing the world's most important monetary policymaker to the glare of the media was worth taking, given how hard it was to defend the Fed against the barrage of criticism over recent policy moves.
From / Gulf News