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FOMC Minutes: Some Fed officials consider eventual QE pullback

Minutes of the Fed's January policy meeting showed several officials think the bank should be prepared to vary the pace of its asset purchases, depending on how the economy performs and its analysis of the costs and benefits of the program.

As shown by the minutes, officials worried that the Fed ultra-loose policy could lead to instability in financial markets.
The Fed plans to evaluate how the programs are doing at its next meeting March 19 and 20 where officials will consider major changes to its quantitative easing program.

Some FOMC members consider the Fed might have to taper or even end its bond-buying programs before reaching the current goal of a substantial improvement in the labor market. However, others officials argued that ending QE too soon would damage the economy.

"A number of participants stated that an ongoing evaluation of the efficacy, costs, and risks of asset purchases might well lead the Committee to taper or end its purchases before it judged that a substantial improvement in the outlook for the labor market had occurred," the minutes said.

During the meeting, several Fed officials expressed concern about the potential for excessive risk taking by investors due to the Fed's accommodative policy.

Officials even discussed the idea for the Fed to replace asset purchases with a promise not to sell assets for a longer period than currently envisioned.

Kansas City Fed President Esther George dissented at the January meeting, citing concerns about financial stability. The Fed will meet next on March 19-20.

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