The Federal Open Markets Committee minutes showed that Fed members appeared split over when to hike rates next during their July meeting, when central bank policymakers voted to hold the target rate in a range of 1 percent to 1.25 percent.
The Fed is concerned that inflation may remain below 2 percent longer than expected, with lethargic PCE, CPI, and PPI data suggesting that the economy may have to wait for increases in prices.
"Some participants" who counseled patience expressed "concern about the recent decline in inflation" and said the Fed "could afford to be patient under current circumstances," according to the minutes. They "argued against additional adjustments" until the central bank was sure that inflation was on track.
Rates were lower going into the minutes, and extended their decline after the release.
Bonds also caught some favor as investors grew fearful of growing political backlash out of Washington. After an exodus of CEOs from the President's Manufacturing Council and business leaders' abrupt decision to dissolve the Strategic and Policy Council, President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that he would end both.
Corporate leaders distanced themselves from Trump this week after his tepid response to violence at a white nationalist rally over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.
On the data front, the lowest mortgage interest rates since November did little to encourage people to refinance their home loans or take out a new loan to buy a home.
Total mortgage application volume rose just 0.1 percent, seasonally adjusted, last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Volume was nearly 22 percent lower that a year ago.
U.S. housing starts came in shy, totaling 1.155 million in July vs 1.22 million starts expected.