WASHINGTON, May 25 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Federal Reserve officials are ready to move ahead with multiple 50-basis-point interest rate hikes to curb the surging inflation, according to the minutes of the Fed's latest policy meeting released Wednesday.
"In light of continuing inflation risks, members judged that it would be appropriate for the post-meeting statement to note that the Committee is highly attentive to the upside risks to inflation," showed the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) May 3-4 meeting.
The FOMC, the Fed's monetary policy-setting body, noted the ability of firms to meet demand "continued to be limited by labor shortages and supply chain bottlenecks," adding that various indicators pointed to "a very tight labor market."
"Most participants judged that 50 basis point increases in the target range would likely be appropriate at the next couple of meetings," said the minutes.
"At present, participants judged that it was important to move expeditiously to a more neutral monetary policy stance," the minutes said. "They also noted that a restrictive stance of policy may well become appropriate depending on the evolving economic outlook and the risks to the outlook."
At the May 3-4 meeting, the Fed raised its benchmark interest rate by a half percentage point to a target range of 0.75 to 1 percent, marking the sharpest rate hike since 2000.
The Fed also announced that it will allow up to 30 billion U.S. dollars worth of Treasury securities and up to 17.5 billion dollars worth of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities to roll off the balance sheet starting June 1. After three months, the monthly caps will jump to 60 billion and 35 billion dollars respectively.
At a press conference after the May policy meeting, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said there is "a broad sense" on the committee that additional 50-basis-point interest rate increases should be "on the table" at the next couple of meetings.
When asked about recession risks, Powell told the press conference that "we have a good chance to have a soft or softish landing or outcome," noting that "there is a path to that," which would allow the Fed to get inflation down without having to slow the economy substantially and allow unemployment to rise materially.
The Fed chair, however, also admitted that he expects this to be "very challenging," adding that there are factors outside of the Fed's control. ■