The Federal Reserve will begin trimming its monthly asset purchases in March but some economists are warming up to the idea that it will do so as early as this month or at the January policy meeting, a Reuters poll showed on Monday.
Another month of strong U.S. hiring and an unexpected drop in the jobless rate reported on Friday prompted several economists to bring forward their expectations for when the Fed will begin paring back its $85 billion of monthly bond buying.
Nearly half, 29 of 63 economists, think the taper will happen in either December or January, before Janet Yellen is expected to take over from Ben Bernanke as chair of the Fed. Nine say it will happen at the U.S. central bank’s Dec 17-18 meeting; 19 say in January, and one said either December or January.
In a poll taken just over two weeks ago, 16 of 62 economists were calling for a taper in January, and just three said December, with the rest saying March or later.
But the majority of economists polled, 33, still expect the Fed to start trimming its bond buying in March.
Out of 41 common contributors in both polls, 10 have now brought expectations forward. Six have pushed them ahead, while more than half, 25, have left their forecast unchanged.
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