Fed’s Lockhart Says Slowing Bond Buying Possible After June

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said the Federal Open Market Committee may consider slowing the pace of its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases after this month.

“I think we are approaching a period in which it can be considered,” Lockhart said in a Fox Business Network interview broadcast today. “That’s not to say June meeting, but we are approaching a period in which it can be seriously considered based upon sort of the momentum of the economy which is not great but nonetheless is moving forward,” said Lockhart, who doesn’t vote on policy this year.

San Francisco Fed President John Williams said today in Stockholm that policy makers may start reducing the pace of bond purchases over the next three months and potentially end quantitative easing by year-end.

With continued “good signs” on jobs and confidence in a “substantial improvement” I could see as “early as this summer some adjustment, maybe modest adjustment downward, in our purchase program,” Williams said. The program “is doing this great job of helping the economy gain momentum, and I would want to see that continue well into the second half of this year, but if things, again if they go well, you could imagine ending the program by the end of the year.”

The FOMC is scheduled to meet June 18-19.

To contact the reporters on this story: Steve Matthews in Atlanta at smatthews@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

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