Published: 09:52, May 26, 2022 | Updated: 09:54, May 26, 2022
US Fed signals multiple 50-basis-point rate hikes
By Xinhua

A man walks past the US Federal Reserve in Washington DC on March 16, 2022. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

WASHINGTON – US 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 on 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," reads the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) May 3-4 meeting.

The ability of firms to meet demand "continued to be limited by labor shortages and supply chain bottlenecks”, said the FOMC, the Fed's monetary policy-setting body, adding that various indicators pointed to "a very tight labor market”.

READ MORE: Fed policymakers back two more big rate hikes, but then what?

The meeting participants think that it’s important to move expeditiously to a more neutral monetary policy stance

"Most participants judged that 50 basis point increases in the target range would likely be appropriate at the next couple of meetings," the meeting minutes said.

The participants think that it’s important to move expeditiously to a more neutral monetary policy stance, according to the minutes. "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 worth of Treasury securities and up to $17.5 billion 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 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.

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Asked about recession risks, he 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.