The Fed sent a strong signal Wednesday that it's almost ready to taper its bond-buying program, but gave no specific indications as to when that might happen.
In its post-meeting statement, the Fed's policymaking Federal Open Market Committee explained that a moderation in the pace of asset purchases may soon be warranted.
Respondents to a CNBC survey said they expect tapering to be announced in November, and begin a month later.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell also said the committee is ready to move, explaining during his post-meeting press conference that committee officials generally viewed that a gradual tapering process that concludes around mid-2022 is likely to be appropriate, given that the U.S. economy's recovery remains on track.
The Fed restarted its large-scale asset purchases in March 2020, in response to the economic impact of the pandemic.
It has been buying 80 billion U.S. dollars-worth of Treasury securities and 40 billion dollars-worth of mortgage-backed securities each month.
For now, the committee agreed unanimously to hold benchmark interest rates steady at near zero.
The officials, however, added they expect to raise rates by late 2022, sooner than they had expected in June.
The Fed also said it's inching closer to achieving its goal on (quote) "substantial further progress" when it comes to inflation and employment.
The FOMC now sees the country's GDP rising just 5.9 percent this year, down from its 7 percent forecast in June.
However, growth for next year is now set at 3.8 percent, compared to its earlier forecast of 3.3 percent.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.