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Investments

FOMC considers ending taper in October

Members debate one final larger reduction

pile of coins

Rather than continue its steady $5 billion a month reduction, the Federal Reserve is debating having the final reduction come in a single $15 billion per month reduction, or in a $10 billion reduction followed by a $5 billion reduction, according to the June Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes.

With that timing the final reduction would occur in October.

The meeting minutes explained that they are hearing members of the public ask if this could be an option, and meeting participants don’t seem to have a problem with it.  

This is a decision that would depend on the committee’s evolving assessments of actual and expected progress toward its objectives.

“In light of these considerations, participants generally agreed that if incoming information continued to support its expectation of improvement in labor market conditions and a return of inflation toward its longer-run objective, it would be appropriate to complete asset purchases with a $15 billion reduction in the pace of purchases in order to avoid having the small, remaining level of purchases receive undue focus among investors,” the minutes said.

However, the committee cautioned that the program is not on a preset course, but if it does continue as planned, it will likely be completed by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, the committee decided to continue to taper, and beginning in July, it will add to its holdings of agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $15 billion per month rather than $20 billion per month, and will add to its holdings of longer-term Treasury securities at a pace of $20 billion per month rather than $25 billion per month.

The federal funds rate will maintain the current 0 to 1⁄4 percent target range.  

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