QE3 More Likely Than Not: Goldman’s Jan Hatzius

Ahead of a lecture at George Washington University, CNBC was able to catch up with Ben Bernanke.

And although the Fed chief was en route to talk with undergrads about history, he was also willing to talk with us about current affairs.

In an exclusive conversation, Bernanke commented that the economy is still very challenging, unemployment is high and in the short run we’re dealing with important challenges.

After watching the interview live on CNBC and hearing Bernanke's comments, Goldman chief economist Jan Hatzius tells us, “My own view is that QE3 is more likely than not. I think we will get another round of easing.”

Although Hatzius concedes that stronger economic data makes QE3 less likely – he still sees the probability above 50%.

In our conversation, Bernanke didn’t give anything away on QE3, however in January Bernanke seemed to be leaning in that direction.

“The last tangible statement on that issue was at the January FOMC press conference where he seemed favorably inclined,” Hatzius explains. “Bernanke basically said under the Fed’s forecast he thought there was a very strong case for doing more."

However, he hasn’t repeated that, since the press conference in January.

But Hatzius thinks Bernanke is well aware of an important point. “There is a link between easier financial conditions, which includes lower interest rates, higher asset prices and higher stock prices and economic activity.”

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