) -- In an effort to communicate its policy decisions more effectively, the

Federal Reserve

said Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold press briefings four times a year.

"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 statement. "The Federal Reserve will continue to review its communications practices in the interest of ensuring accountability and increasing public understanding."

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke

Regular press briefings on monetary policy are a departure from usual practices by the Federal Reserve. Previous heads of the Fed have been known to be notoriously vague when it comes to communicating their policy decisions.

Bernanke has been relatively more open in his communication. He already held a press briefing in mid-February, his first in more than two years.

Still, the central bank has suffered from some degree of communication failure. Investors are still wrestling with some of the Fed's arguments for continuing its $600 billion quantitative easing program, even as they worry about the impact of the end of QE2 on bond and stock markets.

Chief among them is the Fed's argument that inflation is low. The Fed focuses on core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices. But rising food and energy prices, key household items, are eating into consumer spending, raising concerns about growth.

In 2011, the press briefings will be held at 2:15 p.m following the

Federal Open Market Committee

policy statements on April 27, June 22 and November 2. During these meetings, the Fed's policy statement will be released at 12:30 p.m. instead of the usual time of 2:15.

--Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York

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