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A fourth Fed official says stimulus is safe for now

June 28, 2013 at 3:49 PM

WASHINGTON, June 28 (UPI) -- U.S. Federal Reserve Gov. Jeremy Stein said Friday the central bank will be cautious about unwinding its stimulus programs.

"If the [economic] news is bad, and it is confirmed by further bad news in October and November, this would suggest that the 7 percent unemployment goal is likely to be further away, and the remainder of the program would be extended accordingly," Stein said in prepared remarks for delivery at a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week the central bank could begin to slow down its $85 billion per month asset purchases this year and could possibly wind down the program completely in the middle of 2014.

Three high ranking Fed officials sought to calm investors Thursday, saying the central bank was not rushing into any monetary policy changes if the economy was not strong enough to handle it.

Stein seemed to sum up the Fed's week of clarifying the issue Friday.

"My only point is that consumers and businesses who look to asset prices for clues about the future stance of monetary policy should take care not to over-interpret these movements," he said.

"We have attempted in recent weeks to provide more clarity about the nature of our policy reaction function, but I view the fundamentals of our underlying policy stance as broadly unchanged," he said.

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