Fed minutes note rising threats to economy

By Staff, with files from The Associated Press | February 20, 2019 | Last updated on February 20, 2019
1 min read
Federal Reserve Building
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Federal Reserve policymakers last month noted greater threats to the U.S. economy, ranging from adverse effects of the government shutdown to rising trade tensions, and opted to emphasize that they would be “patient” in raising interest rates.

Minutes of the Fed’s discussions in January showed that Fed officials also felt that further rate hikes might be needed only if inflation were to accelerate.

The minutes showed that Fed officials believe a “patient approach” to rate hikes would give them more time to assess the economic impact of President Donald Trump’s trade battles with China and other countries, as well as the severity of a developing slowdown in global growth.

In emailed commentary, Royce Mendes, senior economist at CIBC Capital Markets, noted that some Fed officials still believe the most likely path for rates is higher—if the economy evolves as expected.

“While that’s not exactly a resounding consensus, it is slightly more hawkish than market discussions recently,” Mendes said.

As a result of that slight hawkishness, investors are “bidding up the greenback and pushing yields at the short end a little bit higher,” Mendes said.

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Staff, with files from The Associated Press

The Associated Press is an American not-for-profit news agency headquartered in New York City.