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Business economists mostly applaud Fed's QE3

Feb. 24, 2014 at 1:17 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- A majority of business economists think the U.S. Federal Reserve was on the right track by reducing its monthly asset purchases, a survey indicated.

A National Association of Business Economics survey found 70 percent of respondents indicated the Fed was right to taper off on purchases, which totaled $85 billion per month from September 2012 through December 2013.

With the unemployment rate down from 8.1 percent in September 2012 to 6.6 percent in January, Fed officials elected to reduce the program by $10 billion each month in January and February.

Fifty-eight percent of economists surveyed indicated they expected Fed officials to continue reducing the purchases and phase out the program, known as quantitative easing, by the end of the year.

The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that 70 percent of respondents indicated they believed the third round of asset purchasing -- giving rise to the nickname QE3 -- has been a success.

The Fed's historically low federal fund rate, the rate in which it lends to banks, has kept short term lending cheap. The QE3 program was intended to keep long-term lending rates down to stimulate the housing market and convince businesses to make long-term bets on the economic recovery.

The survey found 57 percent of respondents indicated the size of the asset purchasing was "just right," while 37 percent indicated it was "too stimulative," the Times reported.

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