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Jan 4, 2014

Top Fed officials zero in on next policy steps

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve, having just reduced its bond-buying program, now appears deep in debate over the best way to unwind its extraordinary stimulus in the months and years ahead.

Wrapping up a big economics conference in snow-swept Philadelphia, a handful of top U.S. central bankers were sometimes at odds over the ideal pace at which to wind down the purchases and, eventually, start to shrink the Fed’s balance sheet and raise interest rates.

Jan 3, 2014

Fed no less committed to stimulus after cut to QE -Bernanke

PHILADELPHIA, Jan 3 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve is
no less committed to highly accommodative policy now that it has
trimmed its bond-buying stimulus, Ben Bernanke said on Friday in
what could be his last speech as Fed chairman.

Bernanke, who steps down as head of the U.S. central bank at
month’s end, gave an upbeat assessment of the U.S. economy in
coming quarters. But he tempered the positive signs in the
housing sector, financial markets and fiscal policies by
repeating that the overall recovery “clearly remains incomplete”
in the United States.

Jan 3, 2014

After trim to QE, Fed no less committed to stimulus: Bernanke

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve is no less committed to highly accommodative policy now that is has trimmed its bond-buying stimulus, Ben Bernanke said on Friday in what could be his last speech as Fed chairman.

Bernanke, who steps down as head of the U.S. central bank at month’s end, gave an upbeat assessment of the U.S. economy in coming quarters. But he tempered the good news in housing, finance and fiscal policies by repeating that the overall recovery “clearly remains incomplete” in the United States.

Dec 20, 2013

Bernanke’s 11th hour pivot smoothes path for Yellen at Fed

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – By ensuring the Federal Reserve begins trimming its massive bond-buying stimulus before a more hawkish contingent of voters comes on board next year, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has greased the skids politically for his successor, Janet Yellen.

The U.S. central bank’s decision on Wednesday to begin to cut the pace of its monthly purchases by $10 billion, to $75 billion, gave the Fed’s bond-buying skeptics what they wanted: a roadmap out of a policy they felt risked fueling future inflation.

Dec 19, 2013

Fed cuts bond buying in first step away from historic stimulus

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve on Wednesday embarked on the risky task of winding down the era of easy money, saying the U.S. economy was finally strong enough for it to start scaling down its massive bond-buying stimulus.

The central bank modestly trimmed the pace of its monthly asset purchases, by $10 billion to $75 billion, and sought to temper the long-awaited move by suggesting its key interest rate would stay at rock bottom even longer than previously promised.

Dec 18, 2013

Fed cuts bond-buying but stresses easy policy

WASHINGTON, Dec 18 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve
announced plans to trim its aggressive bond-buying program on
Wednesday but sought to temper the long-awaited move by
suggesting its key interest rate would stay lower for even
longer than previously promised.

In what amounts to the beginning of the end of its
unprecedented support for the U.S. economy, the central bank
said it would reduce its monthly asset purchases by $10 billion,
bringing them down to $75 billion. It trimmed equally from
mortgage and Treasury bonds.

Dec 18, 2013

Fed faces tough call on bond buying as economy strengthens

WASHINGTON, Dec 18 (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve will
decide on Wednesday whether the U.S. economy is finally
resilient enough to withstand less policy support, or whether it
is prudent to wait a bit longer.

With the world’s financial markets on edge, the U.S. central
bank wraps up a two-day meeting with a highly anticipated policy
announcement at 2 p.m. (1900 GMT), followed by Ben Bernanke’s
last news conference as Fed chairman a half hour later.

Dec 16, 2013

Bernanke says Fed legitimacy depends on public communication

By Jonathan Spicer

(Reuters) – The Federal Reserve must clearly explain its decisions to Americans and convince them that the policies are in their interest, Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Monday without specifically discussing monetary policy or the U.S. economy.

Bernanke, in prepared remarks to an event celebrating the Fed’s centennial, said the U.S. central bank’s legitimacy and independence relies on two-way communication with the public.

Dec 15, 2013

Fed could set off year-end fireworks

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The possibility that the Federal Reserve could finally start to trim its extraordinary stimulus for the economy could make this week an explosive one for financial markets.

Though the odds still point to no major policy change when U.S. central bankers meet December 17-18, most of the recent domestic economic data suggest the beginning of the end of their massive bond-buying program is coming sooner than later.

Dec 11, 2013

Israel’s Fischer picked to be next Fed vice chair: source

By Steven Scheer and Jonathan Spicer

(Reuters) – Stanley Fischer, who led the Bank of Israel for eight years until he stepped down in June, has been asked to be the Federal Reserve’s next vice chair once Janet Yellen takes over as chief of the U.S. central bank, a source familiar with the issue said on Wednesday.

Fischer, 70, is widely respected as one of the world’s top monetary economists. He is seen as a pragmatic policymaker and has praised the Fed’s extraordinary steps to boost the U.S. economy. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he once taught current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank president.