Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke defended the central bank’s record stimulus program under questioning from lawmakers, telling them that ending it prematurely would endanger a recovery hampered by high unemployment and government spending cuts.
Treasuries fell, pushing 10-year note yields above 2 percent for the first time since March, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke told Congress the Fed may cut the pace of bond purchases at the next few meetings if policy makers see indications of sustained economic growth.
Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William C. Dudley said he has not decided whether the Fed’s next move should be to enlarge or shrink its bond buying program as he called for a fresh look at its eventual retreat from record asset purchases.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said the central bank should continue its bond buying because it’s the best available option for policy makers to boost growth that is slower than expected.
Federal Reserve policy makers say they want to avoid a sudden increase in interest rates when the time comes to start unwinding record monetary easing. A shrinking federal budget deficit is likely to help them meet that goal.