U.S. News

White House Says Bush, Advisers Monitoring Markets


President Bush and his advisers are keeping close watch on the financial markets and believe the economy's fundamentals are strong, the White House said on Friday amid growing concerns of a global credit crunch.

"I can assure you that there are many of the president's advisers who are keeping a very close eye on all of the market activity and making sure that policies are put in place to keep our economy strong and growing," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters.

World markets have been rocked this week by news of widespread problems at banks and hedge funds exposed to investments in the U.S. subprime mortgage market, provoking fears of a choking-off of the the cheap credit which has fueled growth in recent years.

"What the president said (on Thursday) and what he is briefed on is that the fundamentals of the economy are strong," Perino said.

Asked whether the president himself was closely monitoring the situation, she said: "I can assure that on any issue, especially an issue like this, the president would get regular updates."

Bush is spending a long weekend at his family's estate on the Maine coast.

The Federal Reserve said earlier on Friday it stood ready to provide emergency funds to banks if needed after it injected $35 billion in reserves into the banking system in two separate operations.

Central banks worldwide have now injected at least $323.3 billion in the past 48 hours to prevent markets from spinning into a global liquidity crunch.

But Perino said the White House would not comment on actions by the U.S. central bank.

"The Federal Reserve ... is an independent institution that we greatly respect and I'm not going to comment from the White House on any of its activities or action," she said.