The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis' President and CEO James Bullard speaks during the "Hyman P. Minsky Conference on the State of the U.S. and World Economies," in New York, April 17. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

The U.S. Federal Reserve “inappropriately timed” its plan to taper the $85 billion in monthly bond purchases as inflation slowed, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said Friday, a day after markets tumbled on news the Fed would cut back on the policy, known as quantitative easing.

“A more prudent approach would be to wait for tangible signs that the economy was strengthening and that inflation was on a path to return toward target before making such an announcement,” Bullard said in a statement. “The Committee’s decision to authorize the chairman to lay out a more elaborate plan for reducing the pace of asset purchases was inappropriately timed.”

Bullard has been a strong defender of quantitative easing, urging Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke to only change the size of purchases based on new economic data.

Bernanke said on June 19 that the Fed was preparing to phase out its asset-purchase program this year, and completely halt purchases around mid-2014, as long as the economy performs in line with projections.

Bullard disagreed with that move. “Policy actions should be undertaken to meet policy objectives,” he said in the statement, “not calendar objectives.”