(Reuters) - The Federal Reserve in September bucked market expectations for a reduction to its $85-billion monthly bond purchase program, saying it wanted more evidence of solid growth before winding down stimulus.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke went out of his way to stress the program was "not on a preset course." In June he had said the Fed expected to cut back before year end.
The following are recent comments from Fed policymakers (a "V" indicates the person is a voting member of the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) this year):
CLEVELAND FED PRESIDENT SANDRA PIANALTO, Oct 8
"For me the improvement in labor markets seemed substantial enough to support a scaling back of the asset purchase program at last month's FOMC meeting....I hope that the additional evidence that the committee is looking for arrives soon."
PHILADELPHIA FED PRESIDENT CHARLES PLOSSER, Oct 8
"The time has come for an expeditious phase-out of the purchase program."
RICHMOND FED PRESIDENT JEFFREY LACKER, Oct 4
"If you had told me a two-week shutdown was coming I would have favored tapering in September anyway."
DALLAS FED PRESIDENT RICHARD FISHER, Oct 4
"There are straw votes taken along the way... At this last session, it was a close call."
ATLANTA FED PRESIDENT DENNIS LOCKHART, Oct 3
"I would say that events like the government shutdown or conceivably a debt ceiling debate that undermines confidence has a lasting effect in that it makes our economy look more prone to politically induced shocks."
SAN FRANCISCO FED PRESIDENT JOHN WILLIAMS, Oct 3
"I don't currently expect that it will be appropriate to raise the federal funds rate until well after (the unemployment rate falls to 6.5 percent), sometime in the second half of 2015."
BOSTON FED PRESIDENT ERIC ROSENGREN (V), Oct 2:
"If the economy evolves as expected, policy should in my view include only a very slow removal of accommodation over the next several years - and that should only occur when the data ratify our forecast for an improvement in real GDP and employment."
CHICAGO FED PRESIDENT CHARLES EVANS (V), Sept 27
"Whether or not we'll have enough confidence at the October meeting or the December meeting, I just can't say that with a lot of certainty...I think there's a decent chance of that. But it could go a little bit longer."
NEW YORK FED PRESIDENT WILLIAM DUDLEY (V), Sept 27
"The amount of time that can pass between the decision to begin to taper and actually raising short-term interest rates could easily be a number of years."
MINNEAPOLIS FED PRESIDENT NARAYANA KOCHERLAKOTA, Sept 27
"The main job (of the next Fed chair) is going to be to keep accommodation in place for the next few years, even though there is going to be lots of hue and cry to stop providing that accommodation."
FED BOARD GOVERNOR JEREMY STEIN (V), Sept 26
"But whether we start in September or a bit later is not in itself the key issue...What is much more important is doing everything we can to ensure that this difficult transition is implemented in as transparent and predictable a manner as possible....For example, one could cut monthly purchases by a set amount for each further 10 basis point decline in the unemployment rate."
RICHMOND FED PRESIDENT JEFFREY LACKER, Sept 26
"It could be hard to do it (tapering) in October without losing face, but I don't see why we couldn't do it."
KANSAS CITY FED PRESIDENT ESTHER GEORGE (V), Sept 26
"Delaying action not only allows potential costs to grow, it also has the potential to threaten the credibility and the predictability of future monetary policy actions."
KOCHERLAKOTA, Sept 26
"Doing whatever it takes will mean keeping a historically unusual amount of monetary stimulus in place, and possibly providing more stimulus...Low levels of inflation show that the (Fed) has a lot of room to provide much needed stimulus to the labor market."
DUDLEY (V), Sept 24
"If the economy were behaving in line with the Fed's June forecast then it's certainly likely that the Fed would taper later this year."
ST LOUIS FED PRESIDENT JAMES BULLARD (V), Sept 20
"While I expect inflation to rise during the coming quarters, I want to see evidence of such an increase before endorsing less accommodative policy action by the FOMC."
FED CHAIRMAN BEN BERNANKE (V), Sept 18:
"There is no fixed calendar schedule. I really have to emphasize that...If the data confirm our basic outlook, if we gain more confidence in that outlook ... then we could move later this year."
(Reporting by Alister Bull, Jonathan Spicer, Pedro da Costa and Ann Saphir; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)