Federal Reserve might slow bond buying

Federal Reserve might slow bond buying

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve sketched a brighter economic outlook Wednesday and signaled it’s moving closer to slowing its bond-buying program, which is intended to keep long-term interest rates low.

Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed could start scaling back its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases later this year if the U.S. economy continues to improve. He said the reductions would occur in “measured steps” and that the purchases could end by the middle of next year. By then, Bernanke said, he thought unemployment would be about 7 percent.

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