Fed Talks Faster Pace Of Rate Hikes, Minutes Show

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Private analysts noted that this discussion in the minutes marked the first time since the Great Recession that the central bank has discussed the possibility of adjusting interest rates to actually restrain economic growth. "I think the debate rages on whether that means three this year of four this year", said Gennadiy Goldberg, an interest rates strategist at TD Securities in NY. Analysts think the Fed won't lift rates then but will wait until June to make another move higher. It sees another two rate rises this year, although quarterly forecasts at the last meeting showed more officials than in December were supportive of three more hikes in 2018.

At the March 20-21 meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to raise its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to a range of 0.75% to 1%, as had been widely expected.

However, at least some Fed officials believe that inflation has finally begun to move higher.

The minutes show a Fed that was confident in its outlook that the economy would recover from the sluggish first quarter and that inflation would move up toward the 2% target.

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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.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said last Friday that the central bank would likely need to keep raising rates to keep inflation under control, but also pledged to stick to a gradual path. He succeeds Janet Yellen, who was not offered a second term by President Donald Trump.

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.

"A strong majority of participants views the prospect of retaliatory trade actions by other countries.as downside risks for the USA economy", the minutes said.

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