New York Post
Easing of rate hikes in view
Most Federal Reserve officials at their last meeting favored cutting the size of their interest rate hikes “soon” — just before raising their benchmark rate by a substantial three-quarters of a point for a fourth straight time.
The central bank’s policymakers saw “very few signs that inflation pressures were abating.” Still, a substantial majority of the officials felt that smaller rate hikes “would likely soon be appropriate,” according to the minutes of their Nov. 1-2 meeting released Wednesday.
The Fed is widely expected to raise its key shortterm rate, which affects many consumer and business loans, by a half point when it next meets in midDecember.
“Slowing the pace would give the [Fed] the ability to assess the economic landscape and see where they’re at,” Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, wrote in a research report. “Short of some wild inflation report before the next meeting, [a half-percentage-point hike] sounds very reasonable in December. But the Fed is clearly not finished yet.’’
Rising wages, the result of a strong job market combined with weak productivity growth, were “inconsistent” with the Fed’s ability to meet its 2% target for annual inflation, the policymakers concluded, according to the minutes.