Fed's Jerome Powell weighs earlier end to bond tapering amid hot inflation

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said it’s appropriate to consider finishing the U.S. central bank’s tapering of asset purchases a few months earlier than previously expected, with inflation proving more persistent than forecast.

Powell made the comment Tuesday in response to questions during a Senate Banking Committee hearing in Washington. The Fed is currently scheduled to complete its asset-purchase program in mid-2022 under a plan announced at the start of November; policy makers next meet December 14-15, where they could make a decision to accelerate the tapering.

It’s “appropriate in my view to consider wrapping up the taper of our asset purchases, which we actually announced at the November meeting, perhaps a few months sooner,” Powell said. 

U.S. stocks extended losses following his comment while yields on 10-year U.S. Treasuries pared their decline.

Shortly before the comment on asset purchases, Powell said it’s time to stop using the word “transitory” to describe inflation. 

“We tend to use it to mean that it won’t leave a permanent mark in the form of higher inflation,” Powell said. “I think it’s a good time to retire that word and try to explain more clearly what we mean.”



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