Federal Reserve officials agreed with their leader Ben Bernanke’s view that the economy will pick up later this year and allow the central bank to taper its asset purchase plan before the end of the year, according to minutes released today (Aug. 21). But they shied away from signaling when a move might come.
MarketWatch reported that the central bankers did not signal as to whether such a taper of the $85 billion-per-month bond purchase plan would come in September, October or December, the three remaining meeting dates for 2013.
There were few signs that a majority was poised to pull the trigger at the September meeting but also there were no strong arguments against a quick move.
There were conflicting views expressed, with neither in the majority.
While a “few” argued that “it might soon be time to slow somewhat” the pace of asset purchases, another “few” counseled patience. It is often hard from the minutes to judge whether a view is in the ascendancy.
Financial markets generally expect the central bank to pull back at its September meeting by about $20 billion, according to Michael Hanson, chief U.S. economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
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