Two senior Federal Reserve officials on Tuesday played down the chances that the U.S. central bank would signal a readiness to reduce its bond buying at its meeting next month, dampening speculation the Fed's ultra-easy monetary policy might end soon.
New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley and St. Louis Fed chief James Bullard, both of whom will vote at the June 18-19 meeting, made clear further economic progress was needed before they would support curtailing bond purchases.
"Inflation is pretty low in the U.S.," Bullard told reporters after delivering a lecture in Frankfurt. "I can't envision a good case to be made for tapering unless the inflation situation turns around and we are more confident than we are today that inflation is going to move back toward target," he said.
A core inflation gauge closely monitored by the Fed slowed to just 1.1 percent per annum in March, barely half the central bank's long-term 2.0 percent annual inflation goal. In addition, the U.S. jobless rate stood at a lofty 7.5 percent in April.
In addition to boosting stocks, the U.S. dollar softened and prices for U.S. government debt moved higher on Bullard's remarks, and were given a further lift by Dudley, a close ally of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke who said the central bank's asset purchases could go up as well as down...........................