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Fed Will Offer QE3 or Extend Twist by June: Hatzius

Whether it's another round of quantitative easing or an extension of Operation Twist, "we're going to see something by June" out of the Federal Reserve, Goldman Sachs chief economist Jan Hatzius told CNBC.

Wednesday's event marks the first regularly scheduled news conference by a Fed chairman in the central bank's 97-year history.
CNBC.com
Wednesday's event marks the first regularly scheduled news conference by a Fed chairman in the central bank's 97-year history.

"After June, the probability goes down," he said Tuesday, when the Fed is scheduled to release the minutes from its last meeting later in the day.

"June is the time Operation Twist ends. That’s a natural time to decide if they want to have a successor program," he added. "We will see something in the second quarter by the June meeting."

Operation Twist, under which the Fed extended the average maturity of its portfolio of Treasurys to keep interest rates low, is expected to end June 30.

The Fed "would like to see the economy grow more strongly" and has been encouraged by gains in the labor market. But if the U.S. gross domestic product does not pick up or the economy slows, another round of easing could be in the offing.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernankehas not commented on these possibilities, and if the data show economic strength he might do nothing, Hatzius said.

As he told CNBC last month, Hatzius sees high gas prices having a slight effect on the economy, shaving one-quarter to one-half a percentage point off GDP. It's "not the kind of shock that would matter" unless gas prices rise 10 percent, he said.