WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. Federal Reserve meeting minutes released Wednesday showed policy makers still divided on when to throttle back on the quantitative easing program.
Soon after Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen told senators at a confirmation hearing she considered it risky to pull back on asset purchasing just yet, the Fed's minutes from an Oct. 29-30 meeting showed some members of the Open Market committee were ready to make a shift "in coming months."
"Participants reviewed issues specific to the Committee's asset purchase program. They generally expected that the data would prove consistent with the Committee's outlook for ongoing improvement in labor market conditions and would thus warrant trimming the pace of purchases in coming months," the meeting minutes say.
Discussions also shifted the other way, with participants looking at "a range of possible actions that could be considered if the Committee wished to signal its intention to keep short-term rates low or reinforce the forward guidance on the federal funds rate."
In one example of a fresh approach that would be considered accommodating, committee members looked at a reduction of the interest rate paid on excess reserves, which would provide banks with greater liquidity.
Forward guidance refers to the central bank's prior announcement that it would consider tighter policies if the unemployment rate falls to 7 percent or below.
The unemployment rate is currently at 7.3 percent.