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Many Fed members expressed concerns about continuing asset purchases

Many participants during the last meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee expressed concerns about the potential costs and risks of additional asset purchases by the central bank, the Fed's minutes revealed. Increased inflationary risks, the possibility that additional assets purchases could make it more difficult for the Fed to withdraw its stimulus, and the undermining of financial stability and financial markets were all mentioned by some members as problems that could be spurred by additional asset purchases. The committee asked the staff to conduct additional research on the asset purchase program. Meanwhile, several participants said that the Fed should be prepared to vary the pace of the asset program in response to changes in the economic outlook or based on changes in the committee's evaluation of the program. Some members, however, indicated that such steps could be counterproductive. Regarding the economic outlook, committee members continued to believe that the economy would grow at a moderate pace, while the unemployment rate would gradually decline. Strains in financial markets had eased, but various economic risks remained, participants believed. Members said that the overall confidence level of their business contacts had improved, while data indicated that businesses around the country were more upbeat about their future prospects.