The US economic expansion is set to gain momentum, hardening the arguments for increases in short-term interest rates, Federal Reserve policymakers said at their latest meeting.
A number of participants in the US central bank’s January 30-31 meeting said they had marked up their growth forecasts since the previous month, encouraged by firm global growth, supportive financial markets and the potential for US tax cuts to boost the economy more than expected. Others said the “upside risks” to growth may have increased, according to minutes of the gathering.
“A majority of participants noted that a stronger outlook for economic growth raised the likelihood that further gradual policy firming would be appropriate,” according to the record released on Wednesday.
The Fed’s rate-setters reflected the increased arguments for rate rises by changing the language in their post-meeting statement to point to “further” rate rises.
The Fed’s most recent policy meeting was held shortly before the departure of Janet Yellen as chair and the outbreak of market volatility that greeted Jay Powell, her successor, during his first days on the job. Policymakers including Bill Dudley, the New York Fed president, have stressed that the gyrations in the equity market were unlikely to shake the central bank’s plans to continue its gradual programme of rate rises.
美联储的最近一次政策会议是在前主席珍妮特.耶伦(Janet Yellen)卸任前不久举行的，她的继任者杰伊.鲍威尔(Jay Powell)刚刚上任就迎来了市场的动荡。纽约联储主席比尔.达德利(Bill Dudley)等政策制定者强调，股市的波动不太可能动摇央行推进逐渐加息的计划。
While January’s deliberations predated the worst of the market fluctuations, the record suggests that Fed officials have become more confident about the economy since their December meeting, when they last raised interest rates. The Federal Open Market Committee left its target range for the federal funds rate on hold at 1.25 to 1.5 per cent at the January meeting, while laying the ground for another move at the March 20-21 meeting.
A key question in markets now is whether the Fed could opt to boost rates four times in 2018, rather than the three moves currently forecast. The immediate market response to the minutes suggested they did not significantly advance that debate: the yield on the 10-year Treasury declined modestly and the dollar softened a little, but both moves were muted. Fed funds futures were little changed.