The Federal Reserve could start winding down its controversial bond-buying program as soon as next month or perhaps not until January, a central bank official said Friday, adding to the reasons why investors are uncertain about the Feds plans.Were not on a pre-set course, Charles Evans, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago told reporters on the sidelines of a monetary policy conference in Oslo. He said the Feds decision to start reducing its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases could be in October, it could be in December, but it also could be at the January meeting.
Mr. Evans was among ten central bank officials who have expressed a wide range of views on the program since their most recent policy meeting September 17-18. Some would have preferred to start scaling it back at that meeting; others explained why they wanted to continue the program unchanged and one said they might consider taking more action to stimulate the weak economy.
Many investors were surprised Fed officials didnt start paring its bond purchases at the last meeting. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke had said in May they might do that at one of the next few meetings. He said in June they could do it later this year if the economy improved as they forecast then. But after the meeting this month, he said the economic data had not come as strongly as they had hoped.