NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The former central bank chiefs of the U.S. and U.K. reportedly told a private audience earlier this week the global economic recovery has taken a lot longer than either expected.
Speaking at a CME Group (CME) conference in Florida, former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and ex-Bank of England Governor Mervyn King expressed pessimism about a recovery in Europe, with King more bearish than Bernanke.
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The views of the former central bank chiefs were expressed at a closed-door session Monday. Their remarks were recounted to TheStreet by commodities industry executives who were in attendance. The session was moderated by Financial Times Managing Editor Gillian Tett.
King, interviewed by TheStreet following the session, declined to discuss what he and Bernanke had said. A representative for Bernanke at the Washington Speakers Bureau did not respond to emails or a phone call.
Six years since the financial crisis, the U.S. economy has mostly recovered. Europe, in contrast, continues to struggle in many respects, with high unemployment and GDP growth for the euro area stubbornly below 1%.
In an interview with Bloomberg Television at the same event in Florida, King said stagnation in the eurozone poses the biggest risk to a global recovery because "I don't think the leaders in the euro area actually have a true vision of how to cope with the problem." He said Europe's leaders are trying to put in place structural reforms "but that is not going to be sufficient to generate a recovery. They also need to have macroeconomic stimulus."
Economics data last week showed Germany and France posted growth in the third quarter, Bloomberg News reported, but Italy's economy shrank in the second quarter.