WASHINGTON, March 13 The Federal Reserve has
already begun to put the super-easy monetary policies of the
last five years behind it, Fed vice chair nominee Stanley
Fischer told U.S. lawmakers on Thursday.
"I think the exit is beginning, or has begun," Fischer told
members of the Senate banking committee. "The extent of the
purchases of the Fed, the monthly amount that is being
purchased, is being reduced, and conditions for the continuation
of that have been described."
The Fed has kept interest rates near zero for more than five
years, and bought trillions of dollars in Treasuries and
housing-backed securities to push down long-term borrowing costs
and rev up the economy.
In December it began to trim these monthly purchases of
securities, and Fed officials have said they expect to wind the
program down later this year as long as the economy continues to
When then-Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke first hinted last May
that the bond-buying program would be drawn to a close, markets
swooned in response.
"When the actual tapering began, it had a much more stable
impact," Fischer said. "And that seems to be continuing."