(Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve launched a new round of monetary stimulus this month, saying it will buy $40 billion in housing-backed bonds each month until the labor market improves substantially.
The Fed has kept interest rates near zero since December 2008 and now says it expects weak economic conditions will warrant keeping them there through at least mid 2015, half a year longer than it had earlier expected.
The following are recent comments from Fed policymakers. An asterisk next to a name denotes the person is a voting member of the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee this year.
CHICAGO FED PRESIDENT CHARLES EVANS, September 26
"We are looking for labor market improvement. The various markers I would say is, payroll employment increasing on the order of 200,000 to 250,000 (per month) for a couple of quarters. When that is combined with growth above trend, those are reinforcing and evidence of substantial improvement."
PHILADELPHIA FED PRESIDENT CHARLES PLOSSER, September 25
"I believe that increasing monetary policy accommodation is neither appropriate nor likely to be effective in the current environment."
* SAN FRANCISCO FED PRESIDENT JOHN WILLIAMS, September 24
"I would think that we would be stopping the asset purchases well before late 2014."
* ATLANTA FED PRESIDENT DENNIS LOCKHART, September 21
"I have been persuaded that the problem is, to a significant enough extent, one of weak growth that can be ameliorated by prudent monetary policy actions."
ST. LOUIS FED PRESIDENT JAMES BULLARD, September 20
"Attempting to target nominal GDP without adjustment for the Reinhart-Rogoff effect could be an unmitigated disaster."
* CLEVELAND FED PRESIDENT SANDRA PIANALTO, September 20
The Fed will "keep a sharp focus on inflation and inflation expectations, and we will act to head off any emerging threat to price stability."
MINNEAPOLIS FED PRESIDENT NARAYANA KOCHERLAKOTA, September 20
"If you look at our assessment of the situation of the economy - productive capacity, what's the level of structural unemployment at the current time - we can keep rates low until unemployment is at 5.5 percent. We should expect to be able to keep rates that low for that long."
* ATLANTA FED PRESIDENT DENNIS LOCKHART, September 20
"I simply came to the conclusion on a net basis that (it) would help the economy. ... The potential risks associated with that were not severe and were, and will be in the future, manageable."
BOSTON FED PRESIDENT ERIC ROSENGREN, September 20
"The actions taken by the Federal Reserve last week provide significant additional support to the economic recovery. ... They should result in stronger economic growth, and return us to full employment more quickly than would be the case absent the policies."
ST. LOUIS FED PRESIDENT JAMES BULLARD, September 18
"We should take a little bit more (of a) wait-and-see posture. I think that constellation of economic data doesn't really dictate the decision that we made."
DALLAS FED PRESIDENT RICHARD FISHER, September 19
"I felt an urge at the meeting last week to tie the chairman to the mast, Odyssean-style, and to stuff wax in the ears of my fellow committee members, in order to resist the Siren call of further large-scale asset purchases."
* NEW YORK FED PRESIDENT WILLIAM DUDLEY, September 18
"If you're trying to get a car moving that is stuck in the mud, you don't stop pushing the moment the wheels start turning - you keep pushing until the car is rolling and is clearly free."
CHICAGO FED PRESIDENT CHARLES EVANS, September 18
"I am optimistic that we can achieve better outcomes through more monetary policy accommodation. ... I would expect we would continue with something like an $85 billion base of purchases ... that's a benchmark to start from."
DALLAS FED PRESIDENT RICHARD FISHER, September 18
"I don't think this program will have much efficacy."
* RICHMOND FED PRESIDENT JEFFREY LACKER, September 15
"Further monetary stimulus now is unlikely to result in a discernible improvement in growth, but if it does, it's also likely to cause an unwanted increase in inflation."
* FED CHAIRMAN BEN BERNANKE, September 13
"The idea is to quicken the recovery to help the economy begin to grow quickly enough to generate new jobs and reduce the unemployment rate."
FEDERAL OPEN MARKET COMMITTEE STATEMENT, September 13
"If the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially, the committee will continue its purchase of agency mortgage-backed securities, undertake additional asset purchases, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate until such improvement is achieved in a context of price stability."
Reporting by Alister Bull, Jonathan Spicer, Pedro da Costa and Ann Saphir; Editing by James Dalgleish and Leslie Adler