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Many Federal Reserve members agreed last month that the job market's improvement would have to be sustained before the Fed would reduce its bond purchases, according to minutes of their June meeting. Several felt confident that a pullback in bond purchases could occur soon.
The minutes released Wednesday echo remarks Chairman Ben Bernanke made at a news conference after the meeting. Bernanke said the Fed would likely slow its bond purchases later this year and end them around mid-2014 if the economy continued to strengthen. The bond purchases have helped keep long-term interest rates low to spur spending.
Since the purchases began in September, the economy has added an average 204,000 jobs a month, up from 174,000 jobs in the previous nine months. Still, unemployment remains a high 7.6 percent.
The minutes showed that Fed members struggled with how best to convey the Fed's thinking about its timetable for bond purchases. Some wanted to explain it in the post-meeting statement. Others felt the statement might be misinterpreted. In the end, most participants thought Bernanke should lay out the Fed's thinking in his news conference _ and stress that any pullback in bond purchases would depend on the economic outlook. Continue reading "More jobs needed to taper bonds"→