Fed decision not to taper was 'close call' for several -minutes

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO Wed Oct 9, 2013 2:02pm EDT

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NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO Oct 9 (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve's shock decision last month not to reduce its support for the U.S. economy was a "relatively close call" for policymakers, according to minutes of the meeting that also suggested there was still broad support to trim bond-buying this year.

The minutes of the Fed's Sept. 17-18 meeting, released on Wednesday, showed top officials were concerned that their decision to keep buying $85 billion in bonds each month could harm the effectiveness of communications with investors who largely expected a reduction.

At the conclusion of the much-anticipated meeting, the decision of the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee sparked a global stock market rally and depressed the U.S. dollar.

"For several members, the various considerations made the decision to maintain an unchanged pace of asset purchases at this meeting a relatively close call," the minutes said of the 10 voting FOMC members.

Referring to the broader group of 17 Fed policymakers, the minutes said, "most participants judged that it would likely be appropriate to begin to reduce the pace of the Committee's purchases of longer-term securities this year and to conclude purchases in the middle of 2014."

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