Fed officials divided in July over need for more rate hikes, minutes show

The minutes of the session, which were made available on Wednesday, highlighted the potential dangers to the economy if interest rates were increased excessively. The minutes revealed that there was a division among Federal Reserve officials during the July 25-26 meeting, with “certain individuals” and “the majority” of policymakers emphasizing the importance of combating inflation as their primary focus. This suggests that there was disagreement regarding the necessity of implementing further interest rate hikes at the U.S. Central bank.

The meeting minutes indicated that all members of the Federal Open Market Committee were in agreement to increase the benchmark overnight interest rate to the range of 5.25% to 5.50%. The minutes further stated that the participants were determined to decrease inflation and achieve the objective of 2%. Additionally, many participants believed that there were still significant risks of inflation, which might necessitate further tightening of monetary policy.

The voices of cautionary yet appeared to play a more prominent role in the debate at last month’s meeting, as the Fed has indicated that the spread of opinions is evidence that inflation is falling and the potential damage to economic growth and jobs if rates are raised higher than necessary should be weighed by policymakers. This is an indication that continued monetary tightening could have effects.

A “pair” of participants, for instance, supported maintaining rates unchanged in July.

The minutes stated, “the committee also deliberated various risk-management factors that may impact future policy choices.” “Despite the economy’s resilience and the robustness of the job market, there were still potential risks to economic activity and potential risks to the unemployment rate,” remarked certain participants, although most members regarded inflation as the primary concern.

These included the possibility that the effects of macroeconomic conditions tightening since the beginning of last year could prove more substantial than anticipated.

The minutes indicated a preference for a more patient approach to any future increases in borrowing costs. It was stated that future decisions regarding interest rates would depend on the “totality” of data that would be received in the “coming months,” in order to gain clarity on the extent to which the disinflation process was still ongoing. Fed policymakers unanimously agreed that there was a high level of uncertainty. This sentiment was expressed in a general sense.

The dollar (represented by .DXY) experienced higher trading against a basket of currencies. U.S. Stocks extended losses while U.S. Treasury yields hit session highs after the release of the minutes.


The July meeting was held before the release of data that showed key price measures falling this summer alongside ebbing job creation.

However, the views and analysis of both the policymakers and the staff at the Fed showed a potential soft “landing” taking shape, with declining inflation that inspires faith and ongoing economic growth and job gains.

Recent polls have indicated decreased levels of anticipation for inflation, ranging from decreased housing inflation to several potential indications that inflationary pressures may be diminishing. Although participants also mentioned the requirement for ongoing advancements to feel assured that inflation would reach the Federal Reserve’s 2% objective, they emphasized the same point.

The staff at the Fed, who present their independently developed views of the economy, dropped their projection for a later recession this year but expect inflation to continue falling gradually through the end of next year.

Inflation, as measured by the personal consumption expenditures price index, which is the Fed’s preferred gauge, reached its peak at an annual rate of 6.9% in June of 2022 but has since declined to 3% as of June this year.

Federal staff stated that they anticipated a “decrease” in fundamental prices throughout the latter half of this year.

Investors, who are tied to federal funds contracts, are heavily betting that the Federal Reserve won’t raise its policy rate again during the current tightening cycle, as they put nearly a 90% chance on the prospect that the central bank will leave its rates unchanged at its 19-20 September meeting.

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