(Reuters) - Federal Reserve policymakers are expected to stick with their current bond-buying program when they next meet on Jan 29-30, as they try to lower borrowing costs and boost hiring.
But Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is likely to face some opposition from his hawkish colleagues, who warn the policy could create bubbles and stoke future inflation.
The following are recent comments from Fed policymakers (an asterisk denotes the person is a voting member of the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee this year):
PHILADELPHIA FED PRESIDENT CHARLES PLOSSER, January 11
”Efforts to drive real rates more negative or promises to keep rates low for a long time may have frustrated households’ efforts to rebuild their balance sheets without stimulating aggregate demand or consumption ... and attempts to increase economic ‘stimulus’ may not help speed up the process and may actually prolong it.
* ST. LOUIS FED PRESIDENT JAMES BULLARD, January 10
“It is a very aggressive policy and it is making me a little bit nervous that we are over committing to the easy policy.”
* KANSAS CITY FED PRESIDENT ESTHER GEORGE, January 10
“A prolonged period of zero interest rates may substantially increase the risks of future financial imbalances and hamper attainment of the 2 percent inflation goal in the future.”
MINNEAPOLIS FED PRESIDENT NARAYANA KOCHERLAKOTA, January 10
“My own forecast, conditional on the FOMC’s current monetary policy stance, is that inflation will run below the Fed’s target of 2 percent over the next two years and the unemployment rate will remain elevated. This forecast suggests that, if anything, monetary policy is currently too tight, not too easy.”
RICHMOND FED PRESIDENT JEFFREY LACKER, January 8
“I see material upside risks to inflation in 2014 and beyond, given the current trajectory for monetary policy.”
BULLARD, January 4
“If we get even moderately good growth this year I would expect unemployment to continue to tick down ... I would say that that would put the committee in a good position to think about doing a pause with the balance sheet policy.”
PLOSSER, January 4
“Any of you who have looked at the data of the most recent ... recession, it certainly looks like we’ve had a permanent shock ... That has consequences for ... monetary policy’s ability to do something about the shock.”
MINUTES OF DEC. 11-12 FEDERAL OPEN MARKET COMMITTEE MEETING, published January 3
“Several (officials) thought that it would probably be appropriate to slow or to stop purchases well before the end of 2013, citing concerns about financial stability or the size of the balance sheet.”
Reporting by Alister Bull, Jonathan Spicer, Pedro da Costa and Ann Saphir; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Andre Grenon