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Fed officials all backed bond-buying pace, December minutes show

Federal Reserve officials unanimously backed holding the pace of asset purchases steady when they met last month.

“All participants judged that it would be appropriate to continue those purchases at least at the current pace, and nearly all favored maintaining the current composition of purchases,” according to minutes of their Dec. 15-16 meeting published Wednesday. “A couple of participants indicated that they were open to weighting purchases of Treasury securities toward longer maturities.”

The Federal Open Market Committee held interest rates near zero and strengthened its commitment to bond buying at the meeting, pledging to maintain a $120 billion monthly pace of purchases until there is “substantial further progress” toward its employment and inflation goals.

Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell

Bloomberg News

Chair Jerome Powell described the new guidance as “powerful,” though both policy makers and investors have since struggled to agree on what would trigger a tapering in asset purchases. Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said this week she’s not expecting a reduction in asset buying until 2022, while Atlanta Fed chief Raphael Bostic said tapering could happen this year if vaccine distribution improves the outlook.