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At Meeting, Fed Likely to Again Cut Bond Buying

New York Times (04/29/14) Binyamin Appelbaum

The Federal Reserve’s policy-making committee, which meets on Tuesday and Wednesday, is widely expected to announce another $10 billion cut in its monthly bond purchases, to $45 billion, en route to ending the purchases this autumn. Fed officials, meanwhile, have focused on assuring markets that interest rates will remain near zero for the next year or so, and stay low thereafter. Forecasters, including the Fed’s own staff and its officials, generally expect the economy to grow more quickly in the coming months, rebounding from a cold winter that suppressed first-quarter activity. An early indication will come Friday, when the government is scheduled to release an initial estimate of job creation in April. Faster growth could lead some investors to conclude that the Fed will decide to start raising rates sooner, or more quickly, than it has forecast. Fed chairman Janet Yellen has identified three considerations that will affect their timing: the extent of slack in the labor market, the outlook for inflation, and downside risks to growth.