U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has told close friends he probably will not stand for a third term at the central bank even if President Barack Obama wins the November 6 election, the New York Times reported.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has already said he would not re-nominate Bernanke if he wins the presidency. Bernanke's term as chairman ends in January 2014.
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Bernanke, who was first appointed to run the U.S. central bank by former president George W. Bush and was given a second term by Obama, has declined to comment publicly on whether he would accept another four-year term.
"I am very focused on my work, I don't have any decision or any information to give you on my personal plans," he told a news conference last month after the Fed announced a new and open-ended round of bond buying to support the U.S. economy.
The Fed and the White House declined to comment.
The Fed's unconventional efforts to spur growth have been criticized by many Republicans and some economists who argue that they threaten future inflation and abet profligate spending in Washington.
The central bank has promised to keep interest rates near zero until at least mid-2015, but Bernanke told reporters in his last press conference that there was an internal consensus on the latest round of stimulus.
"There is a consensus that even as the personnel change and so going forward, that this is the appropriate approach," he said last month.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has already made it clear he wants to leave by the end of the year.
Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers would be at the top of Obama's list to replace Bernanke, although his reputation for not being a team player could count against him, New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote.
Longer shots include Janet Yellen, the vice chairwoman at the Fed, and economist Alan Krueger, a former assistant secretary of the Treasury for economic policy, or even Geithner, Sorkin wrote in his "Dealbook" column.
Glenn Hubbard, who headed the Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush, is often mentioned as Romney's most likely nominee for the Fed chairmanship or the top job at the Treasury Department.
(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore and William Schomberg in New York; Editing by Ted Kerr, Walker Simon and Leslie Gevirtz)