Date
26 July 2017
Fed officials are divided over how much more they can allow the labor market to strengthen before raising rates. Photo: Reuters
Fed officials are divided over how much more they can allow the labor market to strengthen before raising rates. Photo: Reuters

Fed policymakers see rate hike soon but inflation doubts remain

Federal Reserve policymakers expect a rate hike “relatively soon” if the US economy continues to strengthen even as doubts on inflation remain.

The minutes of the Sept. 20-21 meeting, at which the US central bank held rates steady, also showed the depth of division over timing, Reuters reports.

“Several members judged that it would be appropriate to increase the target range for the federal funds rate relatively soon if economic developments unfolded about as … expected,” the Fed said in the minutes.

Seventeen policymakers participated at the September meeting, of whom 10 had a vote.

In the minutes, both voting members and the wider group were divided on how much more they can allow the labor market to strengthen before raising rates.

Some believe that with the United States already near full employment, inflation could rise too quickly if the Fed waits too long.

The minutes said “it was noted that a reasonable argument could be made either for an increase at this meeting or for waiting for some additional information on the labor market and inflation.”

US stocks rose slightly following the release of the minutes while yields on US government debt pared earlier gains.

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