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Fed Dials Back Bond Buying, Keeps a Wary Eye on Growth

Wall Street Journal (12/19/13) Jon Hilsenrath; Victoria McGrane

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke yesterday said at a press conference that the U.S. economy has improved and that the central bank will begin winding down its bond-buying program in January. The Fed will buy $75 billion a month in mortgage and Treasury bonds as of January—down from $85 billion. Bernanke said the central bank will look to cut its purchases in $10 billion increments at subsequent meetings, but he warned, “the steps that we take will be data-dependent.”

The bond-buying program would be completed by the end of 2014, with nearly $4.5 trillion in bonds, loans, and other assets held. Bernanke will remain chair of the Fed until Jan. 31; he will preside over one more policy meeting Jan. 28-29.