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Fed Minutes Show Officials Expecting to Raise Rates Three Times to Address Inflation

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Still, as of the May meeting, “most participants judged that 50-basis-point increases within the goal range would likely be appropriate at the subsequent couple of meetings,” in line with the minutes, which were released on Wednesday.

Inflation F.A.Q.

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What’s inflation? Inflation is a loss of buying power over time, meaning your dollar won’t go as far tomorrow because it did today. It is often expressed because the annual change in prices for on a regular basis goods and services similar to food, furniture, apparel, transportation and toys.

What causes inflation? It could be the results of rising consumer demand. But inflation can even rise and fall based on developments which have little to do with economic conditions, similar to limited oil production and provide chain problems.

Is inflation bad? It will depend on the circumstances. Fast price increases spell trouble, but moderate price gains can result in higher wages and job growth.

Can inflation affect the stock market? Rapid inflation typically spells trouble for stocks. Financial assets usually have historically fared badly during inflation booms, while tangible assets like houses have held their value higher.

Fed officials have made clear that they are going to do what it takes to tame inflation, which hit 8.5 percent in the USA last month, the fastest 12-month pace since 1981. The Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, the Personal Consumption Expenditures price index, can be rising, though not as rapidly, climbing 6.6 percent in March from a yr earlier.

While the Fed and plenty of outside economists expected prices to ease because the economy reopened and snarled supply chains returned to more normal operations, that has not happened. As an alternative, prices have continued to rise, broadening to categories including food, rent and gas. China’s Covid lockdowns and the war in Ukraine have only exacerbated price increases for goods, food and fuel.

But as rates increase, the Federal Reserve will probably be watching keenly for signs that the trajectory of the economy is starting to vary. Data released Tuesday showed recent home sales falling 16.6 percent in April from the month earlier, an indication that dearer borrowing costs could also be cooling the housing market. Surveys by S&P Global on Tuesday also pointed to slowing activity at service businesses in the USA and elsewhere, and continued supply chain disruptions at global factories.

Data released after the Fed’s May meeting showed that the yearly pace at which prices are increasing moderated somewhat in April, but inflation rates were still uncomfortably rapid. The overarching query for the Fed is whether or not policymakers will have the ability to slow the economy enough to temper inflation without spurring a recession, which Mr. Powell and his colleagues have repeatedly acknowledged is prone to be a challenge. While Fed officials said their goal for now was to maneuver policy back to a “neutral” stance, they might must transcend that if conditions deteriorate, essentially hitting the brakes on the economy, moderately than simply easing off the gas.

Participants “noted that a restrictive stance of policy could turn into appropriate depending on the evolving economic outlook and the risks to the outlook,” in line with the minutes.

“There are huge events, geopolitical events occurring world wide, which are going to play an important role within the economy in the subsequent yr or so,” Mr. Powell said last week. “So the query whether we are able to execute a soft landing or not, it may very well rely upon aspects that we don’t control.”

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