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Fed Minutes Suggest Few Worries of Economy Overheating


By Jim Tankersley

May 23, 2018

WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve officials gave no indication that they are likely to speed up their pace of interest rate increases during their most recent two-day meeting, suggesting instead that they would be willing to allow the inflation rate to rise slightly above 2 percent for a “temporary period,” while the economy continues to expand.

Minutes from the meeting, which ended May 2 and are released after a typical three-week delay, reveal Fed officials are on track to raise rates again in June. The minutes also indicate officials are less worried about inflation rising above 2 percent, its current level and the Fed’s target rate, than they are about the rate of inflation dipping again.

Officials continue to see the economy as strong, but they remain worried about global trade tensions, including potential damage from American and Chinese tariffs and the possibility that uncertainty over trade policy could already be crimping business investment in the United States.

Officials at the Federal Open Market Committee concluded the May 2 meeting with a unanimous decision to leave the Fed’s benchmark interest rate unchanged, at a range from 1.5 to 1.75 percent. The Fed last raised interest rates in March, by a quarter of a percentage point. It is widely expected to raise them by the same amount at its next meeting in June.


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