(Reuters) - Federal Reserve policymakers last month kept their ultra-easy monetary policy in place, reiterating expectations they will need to keep U.S. interest rates near zero through late 2014 to nurse a slow recovery.
A report Friday showing much weaker-than-expected jobs growth lent support to such a scenario, and a majority of big Wall Street firms continue to expect the U.S. central bank will eventually roll out a third round of bond buying.
Still, the debate within the Fed on future policy moves is far from settled.
The Fed’s next policy-setting meeting is scheduled for April 24-25.
The following are recent comments from policymakers (an asterik next to a name denotes the person in 2012 is a voting member of the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee):
“Conditions will warrant raising rates some time in 2013 or, possibly, late 2012.”
“To a person that I speak to, I am pleaded with, ‘Please no more liquidity.”
ST. LOUIS FED PRESIDENT JAMES BULLARD, April 5
“The 2014 language in effect names a date far in the future at which macroeconomic conditions are still expected to be exceptionally poor. This is an unwarranted pessimistic signal for the (Fed) to send.”
* SAN FRANCISCO FED PRESIDENT JOHN WILLIAMS, April 4
“The arguments for doing another dose of monetary stimulus aren’t nearly as strong....Relative to a few months ago, I think the downside risks to the U.S. economy have lessened.”
* CLEVELAND FED PRESIDENT SANDRA PIANALTO, April 2
“With my current outlook, I think our policy stance is still the one best suited to foster steady gains in output and employment and to maintain stable prices.”
FISHER, April 2
“I think it’s a little bit premature to talk about tightening here.”
KOCHERLAKOTA, March 31
“I’m expecting inflation to be 2 percent this year, and 2.3 percent next year.”
* RICHMOND FED PRESIDENT JEFFREY LACKER, March 30
“If we get growth about what I’m expecting, about what a lot of people are expecting ... I don’t see where the rationale for further easing is going to come from.”
* LACKER, March 29
“Where we are now is appropriate.”
* FED CHAIRMAN BEN BERNANKE, March 29
“As always, we have to look at the inflation side and be comfortable that price stability will be maintained and that inflation will be low and stable. ... There’s no simple formula, but as the economy strengthens and becomes more self-sustaining then at some point ... the need for so much support from the Fed will begin to diminish.”
PHILADELPHIA FED PRESIDENT CHARLES PLOSSER, March 29
“If growth continues to improve, the unemployment rate continues to fall, then there will be increasing pressure on us to begin easing off of our policy stance. ... We’ve never been in this situation. ... We don’t know how rapidly we might have to raise interest rates.”
ATLANTA FED PRESIDENT DENNIS LOCKHART, March 29
“I don’t see too much danger coming from Europe through real economy channels and I would say the potential for something coming through financial channels has actually reduced recently.”
* BERNANKE, March 27
“We haven’t quite yet got to the point where we can be completely confident that we’re on a track to full recovery. ... I think it’s really important not to be complacent. We have a long way to go, a lot of work to do, and we’re going to keep doing that.”
* NEW YORK FED PRESIDENT WILLIAM DUDLEY, March 27
“At this time, although I do not anticipate further efforts by the Federal Reserve to address the potential spillover effects of Europe on the United States, we will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
Reporting by Ana Nicolaci da Costa, Pedro Nicolaci da Costa, Mark Felsenthal, Ann Saphir and Jonathan Spicer; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe, G Crosse