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Fed continues to signal possible interest rate hike in December

Latest FOMC minutes indicate building consensus towards first hike in nearly 10 years

The latest round of meeting minutes from the Federal Open Markets Committee continued to lay the groundwork for a potential increase to the federal funds rate in December.

According to a report from Reuters, via CNBC, there is a building consensus among the FOMC members toward an increase in the federal funds rate for the first time since June 2006.

From Reuters:

A solid core of Federal Reserve officials rallied behind a possible December rate hike at the central bank's last policy meeting, but central bankers also debated evidence the U.S. economy's long-term potential may have permanently shifted lower.

After a summer and early fall that saw the Fed rattled by U.S. market volatility and a sell-off in China, "most" participants felt conditions for a rate hike "could well be met by the time of the next meeting," minutes of the Fed's Oct. 27-28 meeting released on Wednesday said.

The decision was made to make an unusually direct reference in their post-meeting statement to a possible December rate hike, with only "a couple" of members expressing concerns about setting too strong an expectation of action, according to the minutes. Staff outlined how the Fed had potentially fallen behind in communicating its intentions, with markets pushing expectations of an initial rate hike into next year.

In the official statement from the FOMC, the members indicated that information reviewed by the committee “suggests that economic activity has been expanding at a moderate pace.”

The FOMC statement goes on to say that the members seek to foster maximum employment and price stability.

“The Committee expects that, with appropriate policy accommodation, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, with labor market indicators continuing to move toward levels the Committee judges consistent with its dual mandate,” the FOMC said in its statement.

“The Committee continues to see the risks to the outlook for economic activity and the labor market as nearly balanced but is monitoring global economic and financial developments,” the FOMC continued. “Inflation is anticipated to remain near its recent low level in the near term but the Committee expects inflation to rise gradually toward 2% over the medium term as the labor market improves further and the transitory effects of declines in energy and import prices dissipate. The Committee continues to monitor inflation developments closely.”

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