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NY Fed’s Williams says it may be appropriate to start tapering asset purchases this year

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September 8, 2021

(Reuters) – If the U.S. economy continues to improve, it may be appropriate for the Federal Reserve to start reducing the pace of its asset purchases later this year, New York Fed Bank President John Williams said on Wednesday.

“Assuming the economy continues to improve as I anticipate, it could be appropriate to start reducing the pace of asset purchases this year,” Williams said in remarks prepared for a virtual event organized by St. Lawrence University.

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Fed officials have said they would continue purchasing Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities at the current pace of $120 billion a month until there is “substantial further progress” toward their goals for inflation and maximum employment.

Williams said that standard has clearly been met for inflation, but he said more progress is needed in the labor market to achieve the “substantial further progress” for the Fed’s maximum employment goal.

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“I will be carefully assessing the incoming data on the labor market and what it means for the economic outlook, as well as assessing risks such as the effects of the Delta variant,” he said.

Policymakers largely agreed at the July meeting that they expect the central bank to begin reducing its asset purchases this year, according to the minutes from that meeting. That was before the Labor Department released data showing the jobs recovery slowed in August, when the U.S. economy added only 235,000 jobs.

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(Reporting by Jonnelle Marte; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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