Glowing Words From Greenspan

Not in a generation have Americans seen joblessness and inflation at such low levels - an "exemplary performance" by a US economy that is so far unrattled by the crisis in East Asia.

For a man who chooses his words carefully, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan gave a glowing review of the nation's economic status Feb. 24, indicating the central bank would leave well enough alone and hold interest rates steady at least for the near future.

Delivering his semiannual economic report to Congress, Mr. Greenspan said the performance on inflation last year was "as closely approaching price stability as we have known in three decades." Unemployment, too, has dropped to the lowest sustained levels since the late 1960s.

As the current US economic expansion enters its eighth year, the Fed will be ascertaining how the American economy responds to the "storm clouds" over Asia, and then raise or lower interest rates accordingly, Greenspan said.

The last actual change in interest rates occurred in March 1997.

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