Fed's Powell: We will reduce balance sheet sooner and faster than last time

FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Board building on Constitution Avenue is pictured in Washington, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Federal Reserve officials will likely move sooner and faster when reducing the central bank’s nearly $9 trillion balance sheet than it has during previous tightening cycles, but no final decisions have been made, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said Tuesday.

“The economy is in a completely different place than it was when we ended asset purchases the last time,” Powell said during a Senate confirmation hearing. “The period of time between stopping purchases and beginning runoff will be shorter, and also the balance sheet is much bigger so the runoff can be faster.”

Powell noted that policymakers are still debating approaches, and said it could sometimes take two, three or four meetings for them to make such decisions.

Reporting by Jonnelle Marte, Editing by Franklin Paul