NEW YORK – A few U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers expected to taper the pace of asset purchases by midyear and end them later this year, while several others expected to slow the pace a bit later and halt the quantitative easing program by year end, according to minutes of the Fed's March meeting.
"A few members felt that the risks and costs of purchases, along with the improved outlook since last fall, would likely make a reduction in the pace of purchases appropriate around midyear, with purchases ending later this year," minutes from the March 19-20 meeting said on Wednesday.
The minutes were inadvertently sent to some people who normally receive them after usual release time and therefore released several hours ahead of schedule., the Federal Reserve said.
At the meeting, the Fed decided to continue buying $85 billion in bond per month to boost economic growth. The meeting was held before the poor March jobs report was unveiled.
MICHAEL WOOLFOLK, SENIOR FX STRATEGIST, BNY MELLON, NEW YORK
"Some members see a halt to QE by end, but we already knew that. The bigger story is that some people might be thinking about increasing QE rather than decreasing it. That goes with what St. Louis Fed President Bullard said recently, that we could have month-to-month changes in asset purchases based on the incoming data. Data has been weak lately, so that could mean we'll see an increase from the current $85 billion a month.
"There is always some concern in the market around early data releases. Some people were scratching their heads. But it does seem that this was accidental."
TOM DI GALOMA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, NAVIGATE ADVISORS LLC, STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT:
"All the discussion at the last FOMC meeting about the Fed tapering off its purchases was blown out of the water with Friday's horrible jobs figure."
STOCKS: Stock index futures pared earlier gains BONDS: U.S. longer-dated Treasuries prices extended earlier losses and fell to session low FOREX: The euro fell to session low toward the dollar
(Americas Economics and Markets Desk; +1-646 223-6300)