The Globe and Mail reports in its Wednesday edition that U.S. Federal Reserve officials agreed at their last policy meeting that they would only raise interest rates if progress in controlling inflation faltered, the minutes of the Oct. 31 to Nov. 1 gathering showed.
A Reuters dispatch to The Globe reports that the minutes appeared to show support for more rate hikes dissipating within the U.S. central bank's Federal Open Market Committee, and the baseline shifting to one in which its benchmark overnight interest rate remains steady absent a bad inflation surprise.
Inflation has been slowing and while the Fed has not declared its fight against rapid price increases over, the tenor of the discussion has been shifting toward a focus on how long to keep the policy rate in the current 5.25-per-cent to 5.5-per-cent range.
The minutes indicated it will take an unexpected shock of some degree to prompt a further rate increase.
That comment did not appear in the minutes of the Fed's prior meeting in September, when "a majority of participants" still judged that another rate increase would be needed in a tightening cycle that has pushed the policy rate 5.25 percentage points higher in the past 20 months.
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