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Top central bankers are no-shows at Jackson Hole

Top central bankers are no-shows at Jackson Hole
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The annual gathering of the world’s top central bankers lacks some of its biggest names this year.

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke is a no-show at the event in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which in the past he has used to prepare financial markets for shifts in Fed policy.

As a result, there is no keynote Fed speech to open the conference.

Bernanke’s deputy Janet Yellen will be there, though she will only be moderating a panel discussion.

She is a leading contender to replace Bernanke when he steps down next January.

The other candidate for the top job at the Fed is Larry Summers, President Obama’s former economic adviser. He will not be at the Jackson Hole gathering.

The European Central Bank head Mario Draghi also will not attend this year, nor will new Bank of England chief Mark Carney, both are sending their deputies.

As for Bernanke’s absence, the feeling is the Fed has already said plenty to prepare the financial markets for a reduction in its huge stimulus programme later this year.

Many economists expect the Fed to start scaling back monthly bond purchases at its meeting in September.

This year’s conference focuses on unconventional monetary policy and the evidence on whether quantitative easing, forward guidance or a combination of both provide policymakers with the most firepower with interest rates cut to near zero.

The discussion could not be more timely, coming just a few weeks after the Bank of England and European Central Bank followed the Fed by providing guidance on how long they would keep interest rates low.