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Aug. 27, 2021, 8:12 a.m. EDT

Fed's Bostic says job data 'in coming months' will decide when to start tapering

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By Greg Robb

The U.S. economy is "very close" to the substantial progress benchmark needed to start tapering its asset purchases but "a lot depends on what happens in the next couple of months," said Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic on Friday. In an interview on CNBC, Bostic said he was focused on conditions in the labor market. If job gains continue at the pace seen earlier in the summer, then that will satisfy the conditions for making substantial progress, he said. This suggests Bostic may want to wait until the November meeting to announce the slowing down of purchases. More hawkish Fed officials are pressing for a September announcement. Once the tapering program started, Bostic said he wanted to reduce the purchases "as quickly as possible." The Fed is buying $120 billion per month of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities to hold down long-term interest rates. Bostic said he didn't think the tapering would upset financial markets. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will speak about the economy at 10 a.m. Eastern.

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