Some Fed officials sought early rate hike: FOMC minutes

File picture of the US Federal Reserve. -- PHOTO: AFP
File picture of the US Federal Reserve. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Some Federal Reserve policy makers sought an early hike in its benchmark interest rate, minutes from their January meeting showed Wednesday.

The minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting of January 28-29 said “a few” members saw it appropriate to raise the Fed’s rate “relatively soon", amid rising market expectations of higher economic growth and rising rates even while inflation remains tame.

Some of those members also cited standard monetary policy rules which pointed to raising the federal funds rate, currently 0-0.25 per cent, before the middle of 2014.

It was the first sign in months of growing divisions over monetary policy within the FOMC, with a rise in the number of members pushing a quicker increase in the base rate.

But the minutes and the FOMC’s policy statement showed that the dovish view continued to hold sway on the committee, keeping their expected timeline for a rate hike still a year away or more.

FOMC members who opposed an earlier increase argued that standard policy did not apply to the current situation, with “the lingering effects of the financial crisis” continuing to hold back the economy and economic expectations.

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