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December 09, 2013 AT 11:15 AM
Improvements in the U.S. job market make reductions to the Federal Reserve's massive bond-buying program more likely, a top Fed official said on Monday, suggesting the central bank could start small and reassess in the first half of 2014. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said that the probability of easing back the pace of asset purchases had increased and one possible reaction to a recent run of upbeat data was a small taper at "the upcoming meeting.""A small taper might recognize labor market improvement while still providing the (Fed's policy-setting) committee the opportunity to carefully monitor inflation during the first half of 2014," he said in slides prepared for delivery to the CFA Society St. Unemployment registered 7 percent last month, down from 7.9 percent at the start of the program.