US Fed may raise interest rates sooner amid high inflation, minutes show
Federal Open Market Committee would not hesitate to take action for inflation, price stability, employment, say notes of meeting
The US Federal Reserve may raise interest rates sooner than anticipated and cut back on its monthly asset purchases faster if inflation continues to run high, the minutes of a recent bank meeting showed on Thursday.
Some participants at the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) said they "should be prepared to adjust the pace of asset purchases and raise the target range for the federal funds rate sooner than participants currently anticipated if inflation continued to run higher," according to the minutes of the meeting on Nov. 2-3.
The Fed kept interest rates near zero at its last meeting, but said the process of tapering would start this month, reducing its $120 billion monthly asset purchases.
Though the bank indicated on Sept. 22 that its first interest rate hike was projected to come by late 2022 at the earliest, the move may instead come in mid-2022 as last month US consumer prices hit their highest level in 31 years.
"Participants noted that the Committee would not hesitate to take appropriate actions to address inflation pressures that posed risks to its longer-run price stability and employment objectives," the minutes said.
The Fed, however, added that it would remain patient and monitor macroeconomic data given the risks in the global economy, such as supply bottlenecks and the course of the coronavirus.
"Because of the continuing considerable uncertainty about developments in supply chains, production logistics, and the course of the virus, a number of participants stressed that a patient attitude toward incoming data remained appropriate to allow for careful evaluation of evolving supply chain developments and their implications for the labor market and inflation," it said.