By CHRISTOPHER RUGABER
AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve officials agreed at their last meeting that if the economy continued to improve, they could start reducing their monthly bond purchases as soon as next month and bring them to an end by the middle of 2022. The discussion was revealed in the minutes of the Fed’s Sept. 21-22 meeting, released Wednesday. Last December, the Fed said that it would purchase $120 billion a month in bonds until the economy had made “substantial progress” toward its goals of maximum employment and inflation that averages 2% over time. The bond purchases are intended to spur more borrowing and spending by keeping longer-term interest rates low.