If incoming data meet expectations, the Fed could moderate its asset purchases next year, with the program ending by mid-year, Fed Governor Jerome H. Powell said Thursday.
"If the subsequent data remain broadly aligned with the Committee's current expectations for the economy, the Committee could continue to reduce the pace of purchases in measured steps through the first half of next year, ending purchases around mid-year," Powell said, according to prepared text of a speech released by the Fed.
If things go as planned, the jobless rate would be near 7%, he said.
Still, Powell stressed, "I want to emphasize the importance of data over date. If the Committee's economic outlook is broadly realized, there will likely be a moderation in the pace of purchases later this year. If the performance of the economy is weaker, the Committee may delay before moderating purchases or even increase them. If the economy strengthens faster than the Committee anticipates, the pace of purchases may be moderated somewhat more quickly. The path of purchases is in no way predetermined; we will monitor economic data and adjust our purchases as appropriate."
But, he said, he sees "real progress in the labor market."