FOMC minutes: A few see chance of rate hikes "relatively soon"

|By:, SA News Editor

In the last meeting chaired by Ben Bernanke, a few on the FOMC saw a chance of rate hikes "relatively soon." As for forward guidance in which the Fed promised to hold Fed Funds near 0% after the 6.5% unemployment rate threshold was crossed - it's pretty much done with. “Participants agreed that, with the unemployment rate approaching 6.5 percent, it would soon be appropriate for the Committee to change its forward guidance."

As for how that guidance might be replaced, there looks to be some confusion, with some wanting a lower threshold, and others not so interested in a hard number.

The minutes show little concern about the string of soft economic data to start the year (meeting was held Jan. 28-29). "Participants cited a number of factors that were likely to continue to underpin gains in household spending, including rising house prices, growing confidence in the sustainability of the economic expansion, increasing payrolls."