Despite common consensus that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in June, the latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes created a seed of doubt.
According to an article in Reuters by Ana Swanson, the minutes, which were released Wednesday afternoon, showed a central bank that is divided on whether to raise rates as early as June, something that markets have generally been anticipating.
From the article:
Now investors will likely look to economic data released during the next three weeks, including the jobs report due next week, for clues as to whether the Fed will raise rates when it meets on June 13-14.
If economic data are strong, a rate hike could come “soon,” the minutes said.
The participants of the Fed’s Open Market Committee, which makes interest rate decisions, reiterated that it was important to gradually raise interest rates to a more normal level after holding them ultralow for years to help stimulate a struggling U.S. economy.
Yet a few participants cautioned that the Fed could raise interest rates more gradually than previous forecasts had suggested, noting that the economy has showed surprising weakness in recent months.
So far the Federal Reserve has only raised interest rates once this year in March. The last rate hike before this occurred in December 2016. Up until this to point, experts claim that there will be several rate hikes this year, which included June.