KEY POINTS
  • The Federal Reserve said Wednesday it will begin tapering the pace of its asset purchases later in November.
  • On a monthly basis, the reduction will see $10 billion less in Treasurys and $5 billion less in mortgage-backed securities.
  • There also was only a slight change to Fed’s view on inflation. The post-meeting statement kept the word “transitory” to describe price increases that are running at a 30-year high, though it qualified the term somewhat by saying pressures are “expected to” be temporary.
  • Chairman Jerome Powell said he expects conditions pushing inflation to last “well into next year.′

The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday it soon will begin reducing the pace of its monthly bond purchases, the first step toward pulling back on the massive amount of help it had been providing markets and the economy.

Tapering of bond purchases will start “later this month,” the policymaking Federal Open Market Committee said in its post-meeting statement. The process will see reductions of $15 billion each month — $10 billion in Treasurys and $5 billion in mortgage-backed securities – from the current $120 billion a month that the Fed is buying.

The committee said the move came “in light of the substantial further progress the economy has made toward the Committee’s goals since last December.”

The statement, approved unanimously, stressed that the Fed is not on a preset course and will make adjustments to the process if necessary. (How tapering works)

“The Committee judges that similar reductions in the pace of net asset purchases will likely be appropriate each month, but it is prepared to adjust the pace of purchases if warranted by changes in the economic outlook,” the committee said.

The move was in line with market expectations following a series of Fed signals that it would begin winding down a program that accelerated in March 2020 as a response to the Covid pandemic.

Markets reacted positively, with stocks turning positive and government bond yields inching higher.

Along with the move to taper, the Fed also altered its view on inflation only slightly, acknowledging that price increases have been more rapid and enduring than central bankers had forecast but still not backing off use of the controversial word “transitory.”

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