Fed minutes: QE2 jitters still there

@CNNMoney May 18, 2011: 3:41 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- A few Federal Reserve officials are skeptical that the central bank should carry out its full $600 billion bond-buying program through June.

Minutes released Tuesday show some members spoke up at the Fed's April meeting, voicing uncertainties about the program referred to as the second round of quantitative easing, or QE2.

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In the end, those members decided to shrug off those concerns, since the program is nearing its end date.

"A few members remained uncertain about the benefits of the asset purchase program but, with the program nearly completed, judged that making changes to the program at this time was not appropriate," the minutes said.

The Fed initiated QE2 in November as a way to stimulate the economy by keeping interest rates low and spurring more lending and spending.

Fed officials also extensively discussed how the central bank should eventually back away from its accommodative policies, once the economy shows more signs of strength.

The committee disagreed on the timing, with some thinking the Fed should start tightening by the end of the year, and others preferring to wait, saying that tightening too soon could "unnecessarily damp the ongoing economic recovery."

Overall, they generally agreed that raising interest rates is their preferred method of tightening monetary policy, when economic conditions should warrant such a move. But they also discussed the need to reduce the Fed's balance sheet by eventually selling some of its assets.

Meanwhile, Fed officials ruled out the possibility of a third round of asset purchases, or so-called QE3.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke voiced the same viewpoint last month, at a press conference that followed the release of the policy decision. Bernanke told reporters that the costs of QE3 would likely outweigh the benefits.  To top of page

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