Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard, who has backed the Fed’s $85 billion in monthly bond purchases, said the current low pace of inflation wouldn’t ordinarily prompt the central bank to curtail stimulus.
“The committee would not normally remove policy accommodation in an environment where inflation is below target and is projected to remain there,” said Bullard, who votes on policy this year, in prepared remarks in Louisville, Kentucky.
The Fed’s inflation goal is 2 percent. The Fed’s preferred gauge of inflation showed prices rising at a 1.3 percent annual rate in June.
One concern is “inflation may be pushed even lower by a decision to taper and hence the risk of deflation may increase,” he said, referring to a debate among Fed officials over when to begin reducing bond buying. His speech is identical to comments by him.
Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will probably begin to dial down asset purchases at a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee Sept. 17-18, according to 65 percent of economists surveyed by Bloomberg Aug. 9-13.
Bullard told reporters Wednesday he hadn’t decided whether to support a tapering of purchases next month.
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