Bernanke: 2014 could be better year for US economy

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WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday predicted a stronger year for the US economy in 2014, saying several factors that have held back growth appear to be abating.

Americans’ finances have improved and the outlook for home sales is brighter, Bernanke said. He also expects less drag from federal spending cuts and tax increases.

The combination ‘‘bodes well for US economic growth in coming quarters,’’ Bernanke said during a speech to the annual meeting of the American Economic Association in Philadelphia.

Friday’s appearance was expected to be one of Bernanke’s final speeches as Fed chairman. He is stepping down at the end of this month after eight years leading the central bank.

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