Bernanke channels his inner Pollyanna for growth estimates

The incongruity of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke standing up in front of a bunch of $3,000 suits - with blond pig tails and a polkadot dress - is an appropos image to contemplate given this optimistic economic forecast delivererd to the International Monetary Conference in Atlanta yesterday: The business sector generally presents a more upbeat picture. Capital spending on equipment and software has continued to expand, reflecting an improving sales outlook and the need to replace aging capital. Many U.S. firms, notably in manufacturing but also in services, have benefited from the strong growth of demand in foreign markets. Going forward, investment and hiring in the private sector should be facilitated by the ongoing improvement in credit conditions. Larger businesses remain able to finance themselves at historically low interest rates, and corporate balance sheets are strong. Smaller businesses still face difficulties in obtaining credit, but surveys of both banks and borrowers indicate...(Read Full Post)