David Prosser: Bernanke does his best to talk us into a recovery

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Outlook Does the US Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, really see some signs of green economic shoots out there? Back home, when Baroness Vadera dared to talk positive a couple of months ago, she was lampooned, yet Mr Bernanke's cautious optimism was a real shot in the arm for global stock markets yesterday.

Nor is the Fed alone in sounding a little more positive in recent days. The message coming out of the G20 finance ministers' summit over the weekend was that this is a recession that can be dealt with – that we will begin to recover in 2010 rather than facing a lasting depression.

In fact, the economic picture today is no better or worse than it was a week ago. What's interesting is that our global leaders seem to have taken a concerted decision to sound and look more optimistic. There is now a real fear that the constant stream of negative economic news and analysis will turn into a self-perpetuating cycle of despair.

Federal Reserve chairmen rarely do television interviews: Mr Bernanke's was the first for two decades. That he felt compelled to appear and to talk up the prospects of an early recovery tells its own story.