WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve officials seem far from a consensus on the question that's consumed investors for months: When will they slow their bond purchases?
Minutes of their June policy meeting, released Wednesday, show that many members felt the job market's improvement would have to be sustained before the Fed would scale back its bond purchases, which have fueled spending and growth, lifted stocks, and kept mortgage rates near record lows.
Many thought the purchases should extend into 2014, according to a summary of economic forecasts that is released with the minutes.
Still, several thought a slowdown in purchases could start soon. And one faction favored an aggressive timetable: About half those at the meeting favored ending the bond purchases late this year - months earlier than Chairman Ben Bernanke has indicated. Participants include voting and nonvoting members of the Fed's policy committee.