Not wanting to be alarmist, Ben Bernanke chose his words very carefully in this morning's speech from Jackson Hole, Wyo. He didn't announce, or even discuss, any new policy options, other than to debunk the notion that the Fed would try to engineer inflation.
Yes, they'll buy more securities if conditions warrant, but we already knew that. The Federal Open Market Committee could put an explicit time frame on how long they'll keep interest rates exceptionally low, or they could reduce the rate paid on excess reserves, neither of which is a new concept.
Regarding the economy, Bernanke said the economic pace is "somewhat less vigorous than we expected," but "preconditions for a pick up in growth in 2011 appear to remain in place."
Deflation is "not a significant risk" at this time, according to the Fed Chairman.
All in all, this is a very uneventful speech at a time when nerves are on edge, no doubt a deliberate attempt by Bernanke to impart some confidence and not spark further volatility in the bond and stock markets.