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Fed officials see smaller rate hikes coming ‘soon’


Majority of Fed favors slowing pace of tightening soon

Federal Reserve officials earlier this month agreed that smaller interest rate increases should happen soon as they evaluate the impact policy is having on the economy, meeting minutes released Wednesday indicated.

Reflecting statements that multiple officials have made over the past several weeks, the meeting summary pointed to small rate hikes coming. Markets widely expect the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee to step down to a 0.5 percentage point increase in December, following four straight 0.75 percentage point hikes.

Though hinting that smaller moves were ahead, officials said they still see little signs of inflation abating. However, some committee members expressed concern about risks to the financial system should the Fed continue to press forward at the same aggressive pace.

“A substantial majority of participants judged that a slowing in the pace of increase would likely soon be appropriate,” the minutes stated. “The uncertain lags and magnitudes associated with the effects of monetary policy actions on economic activity and inflation were among the reasons cited regarding why such an assessment was important.”

The minutes noted that the smaller hikes would give policymakers a chance to evaluate the impact of the succession of rate hikes. The central bank’s next interest rate decision is Dec. 14.

The summary noted that a few members indicated that “slowing the pace of increase could reduce the risk of instability in the financial system.” Others said they’d like to wait to ease up on the pace. Officials said they see the balance of risks on the economy now skewed to the downside.

Focus on end rate, not just pace



Read More: Fed officials see smaller rate hikes coming ‘soon’

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