Fed may speed up scale-back of bond stimulus

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WASHINGTON – Chair Jerome Powell said Tuesday that the Federal Reserve will consider acting more quickly to dial back its ultra-low-interest rate policies to counter higher inflation, which Powell acknowledged will likely persist well into next year.

The Fed is currently reducing its monthly bond purchases, which are intended to lower longer-term borrowing costs, at a pace that would end those purchases in June. But Powell made clear that Fed officials will discuss paring those purchases more quickly when it next meets in mid-December.

Doing so would put the Fed on a path to begin raising its key short-term rate as early as the first half of next year. A higher Fed rate would, in turn, raise borrowing costs for mortgages, credit cards and some business loans.

“The economy is very strong and inflationary pressures are high,” Powell said at a Senate Banking Committee hearing. “It is therefore appropriate in my view to consider wrapping up the taper of our asset purchases … perhaps a few months sooner.”



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