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Fed bond purchases likely unchanged ‘for a while’, says Brainard

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WASHINGTON, Jan.13 (Reuters) – The current pace of federal bond purchases is likely to stay in place for some time, Fed Governor Lael Brainard said on Wednesday in remarks highlighting progress to be made to that the US central bank can meet its inflation and employment targets.

The Fed has made it clear that it needs to see further substantial progress towards our targets before adjusting buying. The economy is far from our targets for jobs and inflation and even in an optimistic outlook, it will take time to make further substantial progress, Brainard said in prepared remarks to the Canadian Association for Business Economics.

Before a change is warranted in the federal government’s current monthly asset purchases of $ 120 billion, I will seek lasting improvements in realized and forecasted inflation and examine a range of indicators to gauge deficits against. to maximum employment, Brainard said.

The federal government’s preferred measure of inflation in November was 1.4%, compared to its target of 2%, Brainard noted, and the economy is still around 10 million jobs below its pre-pandemic employment level.

His remarks add the weight of an influential member of the Central Bank Governing Council to a debate that has recently attracted more attention than expected. Some leaders of regional Fed banks have suggested that the rollout of coronavirus vaccines could supercharge the economy in 2021 and justify changes in buying Fed bonds later this year.

Along with the federal government’s low overnight benchmark interest rate, which is expected to remain on hold for a long time, the monthly bond purchase program aims to lower borrowing costs for businesses and households.

Once the economy improves, the Fed intends to cut bond purchases before raising interest rates, making the debate on when to start a cut in monthly purchases a test of the rate at which she thinks the economy is improving. (Report by Howard Schneider edited by Paul Simao)

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