by RAY FLEMING THE man who failed to stop or slow down the global recession from which the world is only just beginning to recover was yesterday reappointed to his job as Chairman of the US Federal Reserve for a further four years by President Obama. That may sound like a harsh judgement on Ben Bernanke but many qualified observers believe that he was insufficiently aware of what was happening to the US economy as a result of the bubble in the housing market and was too complacent about the ability of Wall Street to survive the looming danger. On the other hand there is general agreement that he was justified in a speech last week to claim that once the dam broke the Fed responded “with speed and force to arrest a rapidly deteriorating and dangerous situation”.

President Obama probably sees Mr Bernanke as a safe pair of hands and does not want to change the occupant of a key post at the moment that the US and a few other economies are beginning to show signs of sustainable recovery.

Wall Street and other financial centres welcomed the appointment -- which may not necessarily be a good sign. One area in which Bernanke will be expected to make an important contribution is that of the need for a new regulatory system to make banks more accountable for their actions which, as we have seen, can threaten the very fabric of the global economy and all that stems from it.

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