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Fed's Kaplan says he wants to be careful about further QE

Kitco News

(Reuters) - Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert Kaplan on Friday signaled he would be skeptical ramping up the Fed’s bond-buying to deliver further stimulus to the economy, though he said he supports keeping interest rates at zero until well into 2022 or even 2023.

“My concern about asset purchases is they can distort markets,” Kaplan told the Wall Street Interview in a webcast interview. “It’s a tool that I’d want to be careful with.”

The Fed is currently buying $120 billion of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities each month to help stabilize financial markets amid the COVID-19 pandemic and to boost the eocnomy by pushing down longer-term borrowing costs.

The 10-year Treasury yield was 0.692% on Friday. If longer-term rates rose dramatically, “that would be something I would look at but... the 10-year already is at relatively, historically low levels and I don’t know that it would be worth doing more on asset purchases to make it lower.”

Kaplan dissented earlier this month against the Fed’s decision to keep rates at zero until inflation reaches and is on track to “moderately exceed” the Fed’s 2% goal - a benchmark that Kaplan said he sees as around 2.25%.

While zero rates will be needed until the economy is on track to full employment and 2% inflation, he said Friday, keeping them there longer would be like stepping on the gas while approaching an intersection.

Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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