WASHINGTON — Faced with an economic and financial market crisis, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday sent a strong signal that officials may lower interest rates against a backdrop of waning price pressures.

"The combination of the incoming data and recent financial developments suggests that the outlook for economic growth has worsened and that the downside risks to growth have increased," while the price outlook has "improved somewhat," Bernanke said in prepared remarks to the National Association for Business Economics.

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