Minutes released from the Federal Reserve’s July 27-28 meeting indicate officials are nearing agreement to begin scaling back the central bank’s bond buying program before the end of this year. The Fed announced back in December 2020 that it planned to keep buying at least $120 billion in treasury and mortgage-backed securities each month to help stimulate the economy. Although the pandemic crisis has intensified with the Delta variant of COVID-19, Fed officials believe the economy’s recovery remains largely on track. U.S. job growth was strong through July with unemployment at 5.4% and inflation remained well above the Fed’s 2% target. Given the latest figures, some Fed officials are pushing to start tapering as early as September because they are concerned about possible higher inflation and want to position the Fed to raise interest rates starting next year.