Federal Reserve officials are on track to start raising short-term interest rates later this year, even though long-term rates are going in the other direction amid new investor worries about weak global growth, falling oil prices and slowing consumer price inflation.
After their next policy meeting on Jan. 27-28, officials are likely to repeat in their statement that they can “be patient” about rate increases. That means no moves for at least the next two meetings—or not until June at the earliest, they have indicated in recent public statements and interviews. At the same time they aren’t likely to signal an alarm about developments abroad that would indicate a meaningful shift in their plans.
Many Fed officials have signaled they expect to start lifting their benchmark short-term rate from near zero around the middle of the year. Recent developments in the economy and markets have caused some trepidation among Fed officials and, if sustained, could cause them to delay acting. However several have indicated recently they still expect to move this year and are withholding judgment on delay.
“I think it is important to get started and to start normalizing policy,” St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “Even once we start to normalize, interest rates would be extraordinarily low.”
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