Fed ought begin slowing bond buys as unemployment drops -Bullard

STARKVILLE, MS. Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:36pm EST

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STARKVILLE, MS. Feb 14 (Reuters) - St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said on Thursday that he favored reducing central bank bond purchases by around $15 billion a month for every 0.1 percent drop in the rate of U.S. unemployment, starting right away.

"If it was just me, I would be willing to do it now," Bullard, who is a voting member of the Fed's policy-setting committee this year, told reporters after delivering a speech.

The U.S. jobless rate was 7.9 percent in January. The Fed is currently buying $85 billion worth of bonds a month and has said it will keep purchasing assets until it sees a substantial improvement in the outlook for the labor market.