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Aug. 27, 2021, 2:35 p.m. EDT

Fed's Mester says exactly what month taper starts is not a big deal

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By Greg Robb

Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said Friday that the exact month of 2021 that the Fed starts to taper its bond purchases is of little consequence for the economy. "Whether it is September [announcement] to start in November or November to start in December, I don't think that is going to make a material difference to the economy," Mester said, in an interview on Bloomberg Television. Fed officials are "all sort of in the ballpark" of tapering some time this year with the view of completing the process in the middle of next year, Mester said. "The bottom line is that we've met the criteria we put out or we're very close to it," Mester said. In the wake of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's speech in Jackson Hole, market participants and economists have begun to debate whether the Fed would lay out its strategy in September or November. Mester, who earlier Friday said she would be comfortable with a September announcement, said Fed officials will use its next meeting on Sept. 21-22 to "lay out some of our own thinking about the pace and the timing." Officials will continue to watch the downside risk from the coronavirus delta variant, she added. Mester will be a voting member of the Fed's interest rate committee next year.

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