US Federal Reserve officials believed that it might be too early to raise interest rates in June as some temporary factors were holding the economy back, minutes of an April policy meeting showed.
According to the minutes released Wednesday, most members of the Fed’s policy committee felt that conditions for raising short-term rates might not be met by the time the central bank holds its June meeting, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Before they lift rates, policy makers want to be confident growth is on track, unemployment will keep falling and inflation will gradually rise toward their 2 percent goal.
“Many participants … thought it unlikely that the data available in June would provide sufficient confirmation that the conditions for raising the target range for the federal funds rate had been satisfied, although they generally did not rule out this possibility,” the minutes said.
Many Fed officials began the year believing they might start raising short-term interest rates from near zero by midyear, but the winter slowdown has sidetracked their plans, the Journal noted.
Data released last month showed the US economy expanded at just 0.2 percent annual pace in the first quarter. The second quarter, meanwhile, has got off to a mixed start.
Many market participants are now looking toward September or even later as the most likely time for a Fed rate increase, the report said.
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