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Fed Worried About Rising Inflation at June Meeting

Reuters
Wednesday, 16 Jul 2008 | 2:15 PM ET

U.S. Federal Reserve policy makers fretted at their most recent meeting that growing inflation risks may require an interest rate hike, but agreed that the outlook for both prices and growth was still too uncertain, minutes of the meeting showed.

CNBC.com

"With increased upside risks to inflation and inflation expectations, members believed that the next change in the stance of policy could well be an increase in the funds rate; indeed one member thought that policy should be firmed at this meeting," the Fed said in the minutes.

"However, in the view of most members, the outlook for both economic activity and price pressures remained very uncertain, and thus timing and magnitude of future policy actions was quite unclear," the Fed added.

At the June 24-25 meeting, the Fed left its benchmark federal funds rate unchanged at 2 percent.

The minutes showed that members of the Federal Open Market Committee generally agreed that risks to growth had diminished somewhat since their last meeting in April, when they last cut rates, but growth risks were still tilted to the downside.

The minutes showed that members of the FOMC saw continued strong increases in energy and commodity prices prompting a "difficult adjustment process" involving both lower growth and higher near-term inflation rates.

"Members were also concerned about the heightened potential in current circumstances for an upward drift in long-run inflation expectations," the Fed said.

Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, the lone dissenter in the vote to keep rates on hold, expressed concerns about plans by businesses to pass through higher input costs to final prices to "accommodate" inflationary pressures.

"Overall, Mr. Fisher viewed inflation expectations as becoming less well anchored," the minutes said.

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