Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Fed minutes on future key policy rate trend

Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York U.S
Melissa Porter | 12 April, 2018, 06:42

"All participants agreed that the outlook for the economy beyond the current quarter had strengthened in recent months", the minutes said.

"There it is. The first acknowledgement that they might have to tighten monetary policy, take away the punch bowl, raise interest rates high enough to slow the economy down", said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank of NY.

The Fed's target range for its benchmark lending rate is now between 1.50 and 1.75 percent.

As the economy has strengthened, the Fed has upped the pace of hikes.

At that meeting, the Fed raised its target range for the federal funds rate to 1.5-1.75 per cent, the first rate hike of 2018, reports Xinhua. There was a debate about the benefits of letting inflation modestly overshoot the 2% inflation target but also about the possible risks of an overheated economy.

The 12-month rate of core consumer price, stripping out food and energy prices, advanced to 2.1% from 1.8%, government figures showed this morning.

The meeting in March was the first led by Powell, who took over as chairman of the Fed in early February.

However, the meeting minutes showed that already some Fed officials anxious the central bank would have to move faster than previously expected.

Fed officials also penciled three rate increases in 2019 and two in 2020, more than previously estimated in December. Those tensions have roiled financial markets over potential damage to global growth.

The minutes showed that some Fed officials felt it might eventually choose to revise the Fed's policy statement to indicate a need to move past an "accommodative" level of rates to one that restrained economic activity slightly to keep inflation in check.

The big issue that's dominated markets news since then has been United States trade frictions with China, with both countries announcing tariffs on key products they buy from each other.