11:23 AM » Fed's Bullard backs possible 'tapering' of QE3
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The Federal Reserve could slow down, rather that abruptly stop, its $85 billion per-month asset purchases if the economy continues to improve as the year progresses, said James Bullard, the president of the St. Louis Fed on Friday. In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Bullard said any tapering would not be tightening, but would just be "a slower pace of easing" policy and would avoid the risk of a sudden stop to buying assets. Bullard said he expects the unemployment rate to continue to tick down in 2013. Asked if he expected that the Fed would be able to slow or stop QE by the end of the year, he replied: "We are going to have to see how the economy progresses during the year. And if we do get enough improvement in the labor markets then we'll have had a good year and we'll be in a position to slow down or stop the purchases." Bullard is a voting member of the Fed's interest-rate setting committee this year.