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At Fed, Nascent Debate on When to Slow Asset Buying


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debate-shifts-at-fed-to-easing-its-efforts-to-spur-economy.html?_r=0NY Times:

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve has left little doubt about its plans for the next few months, and thus little mystery about the statement it will release Wednesday after the latest meeting of its policy-making committee. The economy remains weak. The Fed will keep buying bonds to hold down borrowing costs.

Inside the central bank, however, debate is once again shifting from whether the Fed should do more to stimulate the economy to when it should start doing less.

Proponents of strong action to reduce unemployment won a series of victories last year, culminating in December when the Fed announced that it would hold short-term interest rates near zero at least until the unemployment rate fell below 6.5 percent. The rate was 7.8 percent in December.

To accelerate that process, the Fed also said it would increase its holdings of Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities by $85 billion each month until it sees clear signs of strength in the job market.

The Fed is expected to affirm both policies on Wednesday. The Fed’s chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, said this month that the persistence of high unemployment “motivates and justifies” the efforts.

The looming question is how much longer the asset purchases will continue.

The officials who led the push for stronger action have turned to defending the need to continue asset purchases for as long as possible, while those who opposed the policy are pressing for an early end date.



They just can't help themselves...

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