Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank could begin scaling back asset purchases as soon as November and complete the process by mid-2022, after officials revealed a growing inclination to raise interest rates next year.
Mr. Powell, explaining the U.S. central bank's first steps toward withdrawing emergency pandemic support for the economy, told reporters Wednesday that tapering "could come as soon as the next meeting."
That refers to the policy meeting Nov. 2-3, though he left the door open to waiting longer if needed and stressed that tapering was not meant to start a countdown to liftoff from zero interest rates.
"The timing and pace of the coming reduction in asset purchases will not be intended to carry a direct signal regarding the timing of interest rate liftoff," he said following the completion of the two-day gathering of the Federal Open Market Committee. He said he didn't expect the Fed to begin rate increases until after completing the taper process.