Fed officials unlikely to cut rates: Minutes

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 21, 2019 14:28 hrs
US Federal Reserve Building (Image Courtesy: Wikipedia)

Washington: US Federal Reserve officials agreed during their two-day meeting in October that future rate cuts are unlikely as long as the economy stays on track, according to the minutes of the Fed's latest monetary policy meeting.

"Most participants judged that the stance of policy, after a 25 basis point reduction at this meeting, would be well calibrated to support the outlook of moderate growth, a strong labor market, and inflation near the Committee's symmetric 2 per cent objective," said the minutes of the central bank's policy meeting released on Wednesday.

The current policy "likely would remain so as long as incoming information about the economy did not result in a material reassessment of the economic outlook", the minutes said, noting that policy was not on a preset course, Xinhua reported.

In congressional testimony last week, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the committee will be "monitoring the effects of our policy actions, along with other information bearing on the outlook, as we assess the appropriate path of the target range for the federal funds rate."

When asked "do you anticipate maintaining the current Fed rate through the next year," the central bank chief responded that "I know I wouldn't say that at all."

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the Fed's rate-setting body, trimmed the target for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points to a range of 1.5 per cent to 1.75 per cent after concluding its latest policy meeting, the third rate cut since July.

The minutes of the October meeting highlighted the elevated "downside risks" surrounding the economic outlook. "In particular, risks to the outlook associated with global economic growth and international trade were still seen as significant ..."

"In light of these risks, a number of participants were concerned that weakness in business spending, manufacturing and exports could spill over to labor markets and consumer spending and threaten the economic expansion," the minutes said.

Many participants also cited the level of inflation or inflation expectations as justifying a reduction of 25 basis points in the federal funds rate at this meeting, the minutes said, noting that inflation continued to run below the committee's symmetric 2 per cent objective, and inflationary pressures remained muted.

The US Federal Reserve has one more interest rate meeting before the end of the year on December 10-11.

vin/