SAN DIEGO St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard on Friday said the U.S. central bank may be able to end its current asset purchase program before the end of this year if the U.S. jobless rate falls as he expects.
U.S. unemployment will probably fall to the "low sevens" by year's end, from 7.8 percent in at the end of 2012, Bullard told reporters after participating on a panel at the American Economics Association's annual meeting here.
"If we get even moderately good growth this year I would expect unemployment to continue to tick down," Bullard said. "I would say that that would put the committee in a good position to think about doing a pause with the balance sheet policy."
If growth weakened, the Fed could resume asset purchases at a later date, he said.
A pause would not be "a once and for all ending of the policy," he said.
(Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Sandra Maler)