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US Federal Reserve poised for another taper of big stimulus

Published on Jan 29, 2014 2:05 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US Federal Reserve will open its last policy meeting chaired by Mr Ben Bernanke on Tuesday, with another stimulus cut widely expected.

Mr Bernanke, whose eight-year tenure as Fed chairman has included the deepest economic and financial crisis in the United States since the 1930s, is stepping down on Jan 31 after putting in motion the wind-down of the central banks' unprecedented stimulus programmeme.

The taper of the Fed's asset-purchase programme, which has been aimed at tamping down interest rates to support economic growth, charts new territory in central bank policy, and the Fed has signalled it will proceed cautiously to avoid undermining recovery from the Great Recession.

The Fed took the first step in December, deciding to cut the US$85 billion (S$108 billion) a month operation by US$10 billion, and most economists expect it to cut another US$10 billion in this week's meeting, But the two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting opening on Tuesday comes amid strains in emerging-market currencies, in part due to the Fed's stimulus cuts, which are pushing up interest rates.

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