Fed December rate hike was ‘close call’ for some on committee: minutes

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – Still-low inflation readings and signs that inflation might actually soften in the near term made the Federal Reserve’s rate hike a “close call” for some officials, according to the minutes of the December 15-16 meeting, released Wednesday. Fed officials voted unanimously last month to raise interest rates for the first time since 2006 but the minutes make clear that some were more reluctant to hike than others. Going forward, the central bankers agreed to add to the policy statement that they were “watching actual and expected progress” towards to 2% inflation target carefully “because of their significant concern about still-low readings on actual inflation and the uncertainty and risks present in the inflation outlook.” More generally, Fed officials agreed “on the importance of communicating clearly” if the future rate policy path became “shallower” due to a weaker economic outlook or “steeper” if activity and inflation surprised to the upside.

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