First Posted: 4/10/2013
WASHINGTON — A majority of Federal Reserve policymakers want to continue extraordinary bond purchases to help boost the U.S. economy at least through the middle of the year, according to minutes from the Fed’s last meeting released Wednesday.
But many members indicated they want to slow and eventually end the program before the end of the year, as long as the job market and economy show sustained improvement. The Fed’s purchases of about $85 billion a month in Treasury and mortgage bonds are intended to lower long-term interest rates and encourage more borrowing and spending.
The minutes of the Fed’s March 19-20 meeting were released at 9 a.m. EDT — five hours earlier than planned — after the Fed inadvertently sent them a day earlier to congressional staffers and lobbyists.
“One gets the sense that many Fed policymakers are anxious to start paring back the size of the … purchases as soon as the data allow,” Dana Saporta, an economist at Credit Suisse, said in a note to clients.