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WASHINGTON _ Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan said Tuesday the economy is beginning to recover from one of the mildest recessions in U.S. history, but he warned the recovery is apt to be subdued and slow-moving.
He stopped short of saying the recession that began last March is over, declaring that "some of the forces that have been restraining the economy over the past year are starting to diminish, and that activity is beginning to firm."
In his first of two semiannual reports to Congress, Greenspan cautioned in testimony before a House committee that recent economic strength could suddenly collapse if sustained increases in consumer sales fail to "kick in" as the country is enjoying some temporary economic growth from a corporate rebuilding of inventories.
The chairman's remarks indicated that the Fed is not ready to reduce interest rates again in the near future, although he pointed out that its policy is still geared toward fighting economic weakness, a signal that the central bank plans to keep its powder dry.
At the moment, he said he saw no need for an economic stimulus package to be approved by Congress to give the …