A specific liftoff date for US interest rates is nowhere in sight four weeks before the Federal Reserve meets to consider the matter.
Fed officials left a launch date vague at their last policy meeting in July after months of signals about an interest rate hike before the year is out, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Most [officials] judged that the conditions for policy firming had not yet been achieved but they noted that conditions were approaching that point,” according to the minutes of the Fed’s July 28-29 meeting released Wednesday.
The minutes showed that officials differed about taking that step, although previous comments by Fed officials indicated a September move was in the cards.
“Some participants expressed the view that the incoming information had not yet provided grounds for reasonable confidence that inflation would move back to 2 percent over the medium term and that the inflation outlook thus might not soon meet one of the conditions established by the [Fed] for initiating a firming of policy,” according to the minutes.
Some also worried about moving prematurely and lacking tools to address downside shocks to the economy, and about downside risks to the economy from developments abroad, particularly China.
A number of officials argued that a rate increase could convey confidence to the world about the economic outlook and that the Fed needed to move in acknowledgment of the progress the economy had already made toward normalcy.
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