U.S. Fed signals potential for more rate hikes to cool inflation
The Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C., U.S., May 4, 2021. /CFP
The Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C., U.S., May 4, 2021. /CFP

The Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C., U.S., May 4, 2021. /CFP

The U.S. Federal Reserve remains concerned over "unacceptably high" inflation, according to minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting in July published Wednesday, signaling the potential for more rate hikes.

The July gathering saw all 11 voting members of the FOMC support lifting rates by 25 basis points, as inflation remains stubbornly above the central bank's long-term two percent target.

At the same meeting, "most participants" continued to see significant risks that price increases would persist, and this could require further tightening of monetary policy, the minutes showed.

The FOMC decision to raise rates lifted the Fed's benchmark lending rate to a range between 5.25-5.5 percent, its highest level since 2001.

Gold prices were impacted following the release of the minutes, said Matt Simpson, senior analyst at Gain Capital, noting that spot gold prices fell below the $1,900 mark on Wednesday, 

Strong U.S. retail sales performance in July revived concerns that the Fed may keep raising interest rates, he added.

Since the last Fed decision, several FOMC members have voiced sharply different views on the likelihood of further rate hikes, highlighting the divisions that now exist in the most senior ranks of the U.S. central bank.

Fed Governor Michelle Bowman said recently that she expected "additional rate increases will likely be needed to get inflation on a path down to the FOMC's two percent target."

But Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker took a different view, telling a conference in early August that, barring any "alarming" new data, "we may be at the point where we can be patient and hold rates steady and let the monetary policy actions we have taken do their work."

(With input from AFP)

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