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Instant View: March FOMC minutes – Balance sheet reduction could start in May

Federal Reserve officials “generally agreed” last month to trim $60 billion per month from the U.S. central bank’s Treasury holdings and $35 billion from its holdings of mortgage-backed securities, with the amounts phased in over a period of three months “or modestly longer,” according to minutes of the March 15-16 policy meeting. Participants also “generally agreed” that after the balance sheet runoff was “well underway” it would be appropriate to consider outright sales of MBS, according to the minutes, which were released on Wednesday. No final decision was made, the minutes said, but officials made “substantial progress” and could “begin the process of reducing the size of the balance sheet as early as after the conclusion” of the May 3-4 policy meeting.

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