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Fed’s Harker says it will soon be time to begin tapering bond purchases By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – The Federal Reserve Board Building on Constitution Avenue in Washington, U.S.A, is shown as it was on March 27, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) – The Federal Reserve’s massive asset purchases helped to stabilize markets at the start of the pandemic but it will “soon” be time to start reducing them, Philadelphia Fed Bank President Patrick Harker said on Wednesday.

“I am in the camp that believes it will soon be time to begin slowly and methodically — frankly, boringly — tapering our $120 billion in monthly purchases of Treasury bills and mortgage-backed securities,” Harker said in remarks prepared for a virtual event.

Harker indicated that he anticipates U.S. economic growth of 6.5% by 2021. Then, Harker expects it to slow to around 3.5% per year in 2022.

According to the Fed official, inflation will be at 4% in 2021 and then drop to 2% by 2022. “We’re already seeing some moderation there, as prices of used cars finally stabilize,” Harker said.

Harker warned of the economic implications that Congress failing to increase the debt ceiling could have in the near future, stating it would “significantly impact economic growth.”

Harker will serve as an alternate at the Fed’s next-year monetary policy meeting until Eric Rosengren is elected to replace him. Rosengren retired earlier in week. Harker was also announced that Harker would vote for alternative.

Rosengren said that he was unable to vote due to health issues. He also faced questions regarding investment trades he had made during the Fed’s efforts in stabilizing financial markets and economies.

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