Consumers will dodge high commodity prices: Bernanke
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledged Friday that emerging market growth had fuelled commodity prices rises, but said most of the increases would not be passed on to US consumers.
Speaking at Jacksonville University, the Fed boss said that recent price rises in "soft" commodities -- such as cotton and sugar -- had bucked a trend of worryingly low price growth.
Speaking just days after the Fed's top policy body agreed to spend 600 billion dollars in a bid to spark economic growth, Bernanke admitted that the cost of some everyday items had increased.
Making an exception for energy costs, Bernanke said he did not expect prices to be passed on to consumers.
But, he added, "our research and our experience though suggest that, broadly speaking, when you have a situation like we have today, where there's a lot of slack in the economy, lot of excess supply, that is very very difficult for producers to push through those costs to the final consumer."
High commodity prices can sometimes mean an increase in the cost of everything from jeans to televisions, as as manufacturers pass higher costs on to the public.
Many commodities from raw sugar to gold have hit highs not seen in decades.
Answering questions from a group of university students, Bernanke said much of the price growth was due to fast-growing emerging markets like China.