While the economy has gradually recovered over the past two and a half years, albeit at a “frustratingly slow” rate, such expansion leaves it vulnerable to shocks, and the outlook is still uncertain and requires “close monitoring of economic developments,” Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke said Thursday.

“Indeed, last year, supply-chain disruptions stemming from the earthquake in Japan, a surge in the prices of oil and other commodities, and spillovers from the European debt crisis risked derailing the recovery,” Bernanke noted, according to prepared text of his testimony to the House Committee on the Budget.

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