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Fed Expected to Be on Hold Amid Inflation Debate: WSJ

U.S. Federal Reserve policy makers want to shift their emphasis away from current benign inflation to uncertainty about future price pressures, and are debating whether to stop calling inflation "elevated" in their policy statements, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The Journal's Greg Ip, in an analysis ahead of next week's Fed meeting on interest rates, wrote that Fed officials appear on hold for at least the next several months.

Data due next week is likely to show that near-term inflation is staying within policy makers' comfort zone of 1% to 2% growth, and the Fed is likely to express concern that its long-term forecast of moderate inflation could go off track.

"The Fed is still worried about inflation going higher, though less so than a few months ago," according to the analysis.

Housing costs are contributing less to inflation because of a higher supply of vacant homes, and energy prices, while high, are still below last year's peaks. On the other hand, a lack of spare capacity in the economy and low unemployment may push up wages and prices, the Journal said.

The Fed is widely expected to keep rates unchanged at 5.25% at next week's meeting.

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