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Cauldron of hawks emerges on Fed policy committee

Danita Delimont | Gallo Images | Getty Images

There's a lot to digest from the Fed minutes.

Let's start with the expectations of inflation. It appears that at least some of the participants in the FOMC meeting shifted in a "hawkish" direction on inflation between the June and July meetings.


The June meeting minutes noted:

Most participants expected inflation to begin to move up over the coming year as economic activity strengthened, but many anticipated that it would remain below the Committee's 2 percent objective for some time. One participant expressed concern about the risk of a more rapid rise in inflation over the medium term, given the highly accommodative stance of monetary policy. In contrast, many others worried about the low level of inflation, and a number indicated that they would be watching closely for signs that the shift down in inflation might persist or that inflation expectations were persistently moving lower.

So there we have one participant worried about a rapid rise and many others worried about low levels of inflation

This time around:

[P]articipants expressed a range of views about how soon inflation would return to 2 percent. A few participants, who felt that the recent low inflation rates were unlikely to persist or that the low PCE inflation readings might be marked up in future data revisions, suggested that, as transitory factors receded and the pace of recovery improved, inflation could be expected to return to 2 percent reasonably quickly. A number of others, however, viewed the low inflation readings as largely reflecting persistently deficient aggregate demand, implying that inflation could remain below 2 percent for a protracted period and further supporting the case for highly accommodative monetary policy.

So where we used to have just one participant fearing a quick return to targeted inflation, we now have a few. Where many others worried about low levels of inflation, we're now down to a number of others That seems to indicate a shrinking group of inflation doves and a growing group of inflation hawks.

The hawkish position is still in the minority—a few hawks versus a number of doves. But there is now clearly a gang of hawks at the FOMC meeting. Or, as the bird people would say, we've got a cauldron of hawks at the Fed.

—By CNBC's John Carney. Follow me on Twitter @Carney

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