Fed Signals Next Rate Hike Soon, June on the Table
It will soon be appropriate for the Fed to raise rates if incoming information broadly confirms the current economic outlook, minutes from the last FOMC meeting showed, pointing to a rate hike at the June meeting. Policymakers also said that a temporary period of inflation above 2 percent would still be consistent with the Committee's objective.
Excerpts from the minutes of the FOMC's meeting held on May 1-2, 2018:
In their consideration of monetary policy over the near term, participants discussed the implications of recent economic and financial developments for the outlook for economic growth, labor market conditions, and inflation and, in turn, for the appropriate path of the federal funds rate. All participants expressed the view that it would be appropriate for the Committee to leave the target range for the federal funds rate unchanged at the May meeting. Participants concurred that information received during the intermeeting period had not materially altered their assessment of the outlook for the economy. Participants commented that above-trend growth in real GDP in recent quarters, together with somewhat higher recent inflation readings, had increased their confidence that inflation on a 12-month basis would continue to run near the Committee’s longer-run 2 percent symmetric objective. Most participants judged that if incoming information broadly confirmed their current economic outlook, it would likely soon be appropriate for the Committee to take another step in removing policy accommodation. Overall, participants agreed that the current stance of monetary policy remained accommodative, supporting strong labor market conditions and a return to 2 percent inflation on a sustained basis.
Most participants viewed the recent firming in inflation as providing some reassurance that inflation was on a trajectory to achieve the Committee’s symmetric 2 percent objective on a sustained basis. In particular, the recent readings appeared to support the view that the downside surprises last year were largely transitory.
Participants generally agreed with the assessment that continuing to raise the target range for the federal funds rate gradually would likely be appropriate if the economy evolves about as expected.
A few participants commented that recent news on inflation, against a background of continued prospects for a solid pace of economic growth, supported the view that inflation on a 12-month basis would likely move slightly above the Committee’s 2 percent objective for a time. It was also noted that a temporary period of inflation modestly above 2 percent would be consistent with the Committee’s symmetric inflation objective and could be helpful in anchoring longer-run inflation expectations at a level consistent with that objective.
5/23/2018 6:37:19 PM