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FOMC Minutes: “Majority of participants judged that one more increase in the target federal funds rate … would likely be appropriate”

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From the Fed: Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee, September 19-20, 2023. Excerpt:Participants noted that the data received over the past several months generally suggested that inflation was slowing. Even with these favorable developments, they emphasized that further progress was needed to get inflation sustainably to 2 percent. Participants pointed to the softening of price inflation for goods amid improving supply conditions and to declining housing services inflation. Several participants remarked that, despite the recent rise in energy prices, food and energy prices over the past year had contributed to a decline in overall inflation. However, participants also noted that significant progress in reducing inflation had yet to become apparent in the prices of core services excluding housing. Participants noted that longer-term inflation expectations remained well anchored and that shorter-term inflation expectations had been moving down from elevated levels. Participants observed that, notwithstanding recent favorable developments, inflation remained well above the Committee’s 2 percent longer-run objective and that elevated inflation was continuing to harm businesses and households—particularly low-income households. Participants stressed that they would need to see more data indicating that inflation pressures were abating to be more confident that inflation was on course to return to 2 percent over time.

In discussing the policy outlook, participants continued to judge that it was critical that the stance of monetary policy be kept sufficiently restrictive to return inflation to the Committee’s 2 percent objective over time. A majority of participants judged that one more increase in the target federal funds rate at a future meeting would likely be appropriate, while some judged it likely that no further increases would be warranted. All participants agreed that the Committee was in a position to proceed carefully and that policy decisions at every meeting would continue to be based on the totality of incoming information and its implications for the economic outlook as well as the balance of risks. Participants expected that the data arriving in coming months would help clarify the extent to which the disinflation process was continuing and labor markets were reaching a better balance between demand and supply. This information would be valuable in determining the extent of additional policy firming that may be appropriate to return inflation to 2 percent over time. Some participants also emphasized the importance of continuing to communicate clearly to the public about the Committee’s data-dependent approach to policy and its firm commitment to bring inflation down to 2 percent.
emphasis added

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