Fed risks Trump's fury over rate increases

Under Jerome Powell the Fed has been gradually raising rates as the US economy has strengthened as a way to prevent a run-up in inflation

Every policymaker backed the Fed's September rate increase, according to the minutes of the Sept. 25-26 meeting, published Wednesday.

Members of the Federal Open Market Committee, which determines the Fed's monetary policy, didn't bother to discuss comments made by Trump warning against further increases in the central bank's benchmark interest rate, according to minutes of the September 25-27 meeting released Wednesday.

The Fed has raised interest rates three times this year as it seeks to prevent a vibrant economy from overheating.

Still, the minutes showed that, for the moment at least, American policymakers were largely in agreement about the near future - despite the increasing heat from the president, who fears higher rates will derail his economic agenda.

"This gradual approach would balance the risk of tightening monetary policy too quickly, which could lead to an abrupt slowing in the economy and inflation moving below the Committee's objective, against the risk of moving too slowly, which could engender inflation persistently above the objective and possibly contribute to a buildup of financial imbalances", the minutes said.

Treasury yields were little changed.

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Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has said the central bank will monitor interest rates to avoid raising them too quickly, which could hamper US growth.

But some Fed members warned that instability in emerging economies - many of which are heavily indebted and vulnerable when USA rates rise - could "spread more broadly through the global economy and financial markets".

According to the minutes: "A few participants expected that policy would need to become modestly restrictive for a time and a number judged that it would be necessary to temporarily raise the federal funds rate above their assessments of its longer-run level". The Fed also forecast an additional three rate increases in 2019 and one in 2020.

"There's a couple of other people there that I'm not so happy with, too, but for the most part, I'm very happy with people". The minutes noted that the tax cuts Trump had pushed through Congress late last year along with the spending increases Congress approved at the beginning of this year were boosting economic activity. That would put it above the 3 percent level which the Fed now pegs as its "neutral rate".

The US Federal Reserve has signalled there will be another rise in interest rates this year, despite opposition from the White House and growing concerns about the impact on emerging market economies.

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