Sat, 26 Nov 2022

WASHINGTON D.C.: According to the minutes from Federal Reserve's meeting held on 1st and 2nd November, a "substantial majority" of policymakers agreed that it would "likely soon be appropriate" to slow the pace of interest rate hikes.

The session was held amidst a widening debate over the repercussions of the U.S. central bank's rapid monetary policy tightening.

During the meeting, the Fed raised its policy rate by three-quarters of a percentage point for the fourth consecutive time.

The minutes, which were released on November 23, said, "A slower pace would better allow the Federal Open Market Committee to assess progress toward its goals of maximum employment and price stability. The uncertain lags and magnitudes associated with the effects of monetary policy actions on economic activity and inflation were among the reasons cited."

The minutes also noted an emerging focus on the level to which rates must rise to lower inflation, and the need to calibrate this process carefully.

"With monetary policy approaching a sufficiently restrictive stance, participants emphasized that the level to which the Committee ultimately raised the target range and the evolution of the policy stance thereafter, had become more important considerations than the pace," the minutes stated.

After surging this year due to the Fed's tightening, which other major central banks have been unable to match, the U.S. dollar declined against a basket of trading partner currencies.

The minutes also highlighted a growing debate within the central bank over the risks posed by rapid policy tightening to economic growth and financial stability.

While "a few participants" said slower rate hikes could reduce risks to the financial system, "a few other participants' noted that any slowing of the Fed's policy tightening pace should await "more concrete signs that inflation pressures were receding significantly," the minutes added.

According to its preferred measure, inflation continues to run at more than three times the Fed's two percent target, but recent data suggests inflation has now peaked and a slowdown will be gradual.

"The path forward for monetary policy is a battle between the 'various' and the 'several,' " said Brian Jacobsen, with Allspring Global Investments in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, as quoted by Reuters.

In addition to a policy statement, during its upcoming meeting in December the Fed will also release new policymaker projections for the path of interest rates, inflation and unemployment.

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