REUTERS - The U.S. federal government shutdown could delay the Federal Reserve's ability to assess the state of the economy, potentially forcing the central bank to postpone a decision to cut back on stimulus, a top Fed policymaker said on Wednesday.
Congressional Republicans and the White House are in a stalemate over government funding forcing the first government shutdown in 17 years and interrupting, among other government functions, the regular flow of official data on the economy.
"If we don't have good, reliable government statistics, it will make it much harder to be able to take a gauge of what's going on," Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren said in Burlington, Vermont.
"It would make me less willing to remove accommodation until we had good data ... It does put out further into the future the time when we can get a real assessment of where the economy is."
The Fed last month said it needs further evidence the economy is improving before it will scale back its $85-billion-a-month bond-buying program.
(Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Sandra Maler)