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Fed Open to Expanding QE as It Counters Talk of Tapering

Facing the risk of a fourth straight summertime slowdown, Federal Reserve officials raised the prospect of increasing the monthly pace of bond buying above $85 billion to guard against any slump in growth or employment.

The Fed’s statement yesterday that it’s “prepared to increase or reduce the pace of its purchases” was a signal that its $3.32 trillion balance sheet is a flexible tool for monetary policy that can be adjusted up or down, like interest rates. The statement, released in Washington, countered discussion of the timing of a reduction in purchases at the Fed’s March meeting.