Fed's Kashkari: 'Reasonable' to taper late this year or early next

(Reuters) – Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari on Tuesday said that it could be “reasonable” for the Fed to start reducing its bond-buying program at the end of this year, though it would depend on making further progress in the labor market.

“There’s a lot of public discussion about, will it be at the end of this year, will it be the beginning of next year: Those seem like reasonable ranges of deliberation, but ultimately it will be driven by the data,” Kashkari said at the Pacific Northwest Economic Regional Annual Summit in Big Sky, Montana.

Still, he added, “It is a question of when, not a question of if” the Fed will slow its bond-buying, currently at $120 billion each month.

Raising interest rates, however, is likely still a “few years” in the future, he said, because the Fed has pledged not to do so until the economy reaches full employment.

There is still “a lot of slack” in the U.S. labor market, with some 6 million to 8 million Americans out of work who would have been employed had the pandemic not hit, he said.

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