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According to the minutes from the April Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting, here is the 5 step exit strategy that policymakers prefer at this time:
1) End QE2 in June
2) Stop reinvestment some time this yr
3) Remove the “extended period” language in Q4 or early 2012
4) Raise interest rates
5) Start selling assets in 2012/2013
Nearly all of the FOMC members agreed that the first step should be to stop reinvesting payments of principal on agency securities and then soon after Treasury securities. By doing this, they would be reducing the size of the central bank’s balance sheet which would be a small step towards policy tightening. Changes to the FOMC statement regarding forward policy should also happen at that time. The second step would be to raise interest rates and then gradually sell off their existing securities. The reason why they are leaning towards raising rates first is because it would give them the flexibility to lower rates later if economic conditions then warranted. Although talk of an exit strategy has helped to lift the U.S. dollar, the Fed also said that discussions of an appropriate exit strategy does not mean that they are looking implement one soon.