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(Reuters) – For investors trying to pinpoint when the Federal Reserve will likely end its massive bond-buying program, the message from researchers at a pair of influential regional Fed banks was clear: don’t bother.

More crucial in terms of monetary policy’s impact on U.S. growth and inflation will be signals from the U.S. central bank on when it will start to raise short-term interest rates from their current near-zero level, economists at the San Francisco Fed and the New York Fed wrote in the latest issue of the San Francisco Fed’s Economic Letter published on Monday.

The Fed’s bond-buying programs have given a moderate boost to the economy, but they would have far less impact without the Fed’s simultaneous promise to keep rates low, they showed.

The finding, they said, goes not only for past rounds of quantitative easing, but also for the Fed’s current and third round, known as QE3.

“Our analysis suggests that communication about when the Fed will begin to raise the federal funds rate from its near-zero level will be more important than signals about the precise timing of the end of QE3,” San Francisco Fed senior economist Vasco Curdia and New York Fed senior economist Andrea Ferrero wrote.

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