Aug. 21 - The minutes of the Fed's July meeting did little to pin down an exact start to the Fed's expected pullback of bond buying- with some members urging patience. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Have patience. That's the message from several Federal Reserve Open Market Committee members when it comes to deciding when to start winding down the monetary stimulus program that has been supporting the U.S. economic recovery. The minutes of its most recent meeting, showed almost all its members said it wasn't yet time to make a change. But they also indicated that the U.S. unemployment rate- now at 7.4 percent- had gone down a lot. Even if many Americans may have simply given up looking for work. They also said that in terms of raising rates- they may lower the unemployment target below the current 6.5 percent. UBS U.S. economist Kevin Cummins: SOUNDBITE: KEVIN CUMMINS, U.S. ECONOMIST, UBS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "There has been some talk that if they do wind up tapering, that they will lower that threshold on the unemployment rate, possibly to 6 percent or even 5 and a half percent, to signal that they are going to remain extremely accommodative even further out in the path of policy. So there is kind of different tools. So net-net even if they did taper in September they may push that rate of the threshold down even lower so they will keep rates even lower for longer. " Something that would appease those that expressed concern that higher rates could restrain economic growth - though based on recent data on the housing market- so far higher rates have had little impact. On the news, stocks fell, closing out Wednesday's session with a loss. The bottom line: SOUNDBITE: KEVIN CUMMINS, U.S. ECONOMIST, UBS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The consensus among officials is that the economy is going to improve in the second half of this year as fiscal restraint wanes. Consumer confidence has risen. And employment gains have moved to about a 200k average -what they are expecting to see with confidence, that it is going to continue going forward. So that is consistent with their view that they should dial back a bit on the near term stimulus." The Fed's next meets September 17th and 18th.