WASHINGTON — In a historic move, the Federal Reserve Board said Thursday that Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold quarterly press conferences to address questions about monetary policy decisions made by the central bank.

The Fed said the first such briefing will be April 27 at 2:15 p.m. following the Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

"The introduction of regular press briefings is intended to further enhance the clarity and timeliness of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy communication," the central bank said in a press release. "The Federal Reserve will continue to review its communications practices in the interest of ensuring accountability and increasing public understanding."

Bernanke now joins his counterparts Jean-Claude Trichet of the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa, who each hold a briefing after every policy meeting. Bank of England Governor Mervyn King holds quarterly briefings, while Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney also holds regular briefings as well.

The Fed has been contemplating such a move since late last year after it was raised in a videoconference meeting on October 15 with members of the Federal Open Market Committee. At that time, participants discussed whether it would be useful for the Fed chairman to hold "occasional press briefings to provide more detailed information to the public" on its assessment of U.S. economic outlook and policy decision making.

Two other briefings have been scheduled for June 22 and November 2.

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