Ben Bernanke is intensifying speculation that this year will be his last as Federal Reserve chairman by deciding to skip the Fed's annual August conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Jackson Hole has long been a high-profile platform for speeches by Fed chairmen. Since taking over the Fed in 2006, Bernanke has been the marquee speaker each year.
His second four-year term will end in January, and neither he nor President Barack Obama has signaled whether Bernanke will serve a third term.
The Jackson Hole retreat, sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, will be held Aug. 22-24. A Fed spokesman said Monday that Bernanke won't attend because of a "personal scheduling conflict."
All eyes at the conference will likely instead focus on the Fed's vice chair, Janet Yellen, who is widely considered the front-runner to succeed Bernanke. Yellen, who previously led the San Francisco Fed, was appointed vice chair by Obama. She has been a supporter of Bernanke's low-interest-rate policies.
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