Federal Reserve officials were cautiously optimistic about the US economic recovery at the central bank’s April meeting, with some officials signaling they’d be open to discussing scaling back the central bank’s massive bond purchases “at some point.”
“A number of participants suggested that if the economy continued to make rapid progress toward the Committee’s goals, it might be appropriate at some point in upcoming meetings to begin discussing a plan for adjusting the pace of asset purchases,” according to minutes from the April 27-28 Federal Open Market Committee meeting published Wednesday.
“Various participants noted that it would likely be some time until the economy had made substantial further progress toward the Committee’s maximum-employment and price-stability goals,” the minutes said.
Officials held interest rates near zero at the meeting and pledged to continue buying $80 billion in Treasuries and $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities every month until “substantial further progress” had been made on their employment and inflation goals.
The US labor market posted strong gains in March, the most recent month for which Fed officials had data at the April meeting. Policy makers have since noted they’d need to see continued strength to indicate that the economy was on its way to meeting the Fed’s test to scale back bond buying.
The recovery picture was muddled by a disappointing April jobs report, which came after the Fed’s meeting. Policy makers will have that report, plus the one for May, at their next meeting in June.