Now that the Federal Reserve has announced the end to its pandemic-era stimulus program, the next question is how long will it take until its fully rolled off.
That could happen sooner than most expect.
“At this point the economy is very strong and inflationary pressures are high and it is therefore appropriate in my view to consider wrapping up the taper of our asset purchases … perhaps a few months sooner,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell testified before the Senate Tuesday.
Earlier this month, the Fed announced it would reduce the pace of those monthly purchases, slashing bond buying by $10 billion for Treasury securities and $5 billion for agency mortgage-backed securities.
At its December meeting, the central bankers will discuss whether this pace is still appropriate, Powell said.
He also added that by then, the bankers will have seen another labor market report — due this Friday — and might know more about the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
It’s about learning about the transmissibility, the ability of existing vaccines working against it and about the severity of the illness if contracted, Powell said.
“Then and only then we can make an assessment on the effect on the economy,” he added.