Bernanke: Interest rate hike in 2014 “best guess”

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Ben Bernanke says the Federal Reserve’s announcement that it is unlikely to raise its benchmark interest rate until late 2014 is simply its “best guess.”

The Fed chairman says during a news conference that the central bank’s ability to forecast that far out is limited and that the Fed could adjust the time frame if economic conditions change. Still, he says all signs suggest the Fed won’t change its record-low rate for nearly three years.

“Unless there is a substantial strengthening of the economy in the near term, it’s a pretty good guess we will be keeping rates low for some time,” Bernanke said

The central bank has kept its key rate at a record low near zero for about three years.