St. Louis Fed President No Fan Of Ben Bernanke These Days

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James Bullard was just wondering why certain genial, bearded men would set specific goals for a program and then ignore them.

Neither the central bank's own economic growth forecasts nor its expectations for continued weak inflation supported a decision to dial back soon on the $85 billion a month it has been pumping into the financial system, the St. Louis Fed said in explaining Bullard's thinking.

"President Bullard ... felt that the committee's decision to authorize the chairman to lay out a more elaborate plan for reducing the pace of asset purchases was inappropriately timed," the regional Fed bank said in a statement.

Global financial markets have sunk sharply since Wednesday when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke laid out the central bank's strategy for cutting the pace of asset purchases later this year, provided the economy continues to improve as the Fed expects….

Highlighting an apparent contradiction, the St. Louis Fed noted that the 19 Fed officials who took part in the policy discussion on Wednesday released economic projections in which they marked down forecasts for U.S. growth and inflation in 2013, while "simultaneously announcing that less accommodative policy may be in store."

"President Bullard felt that a more prudent approach would be to wait for more tangible signs that the economy was strengthening and that inflation was on a path to return toward target before making such an announcement," it said.

In a detailed explanation, it also repeated that Bullard thought the Fed should have more strongly signaled a willingness to defend its 2 percent inflation target, in light of recent low inflation readings, which was the explanation for his dissent offered in a statement issued by the Fed on Wednesday.

Bernanke bond announcement 'inappropriately timed:' Fed's Bullard [Reuters]

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