Greenspan hints at fiscal easing

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ALAN GREENSPAN, the US Federal Reserve chairman, is considering a policy change leading to lower interest rates, amid signs that the recession in several Asian countries and the continuing turmoil in financial and emerging markets may derail the US economy.

Mr Greenspan (left), who two months ago said that he was concerned that low unemployment and rising wages in the United States might cause inflation to accelerate, told students at the University of California, Berkeley, that the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee "will need to consider carefully the potential ramifications of ongoing developments'' since its last session 18 August.

The FOMC has held the overnight bank lending rate steady at 5.5 per cent since March 1997