WASHINGTON – A majority of US Federal Reserve policymakers found that a slower pace of interest rate hikes would “likely soon be appropriate,” the central bank said on Wednesday.
The Fed has embarked on an aggressive path to cool demand and bring down prices as inflation in the world’s biggest economy surged to the highest level in decades, raising the benchmark borrowing rate six times this year.
Its latest policy meeting in early November produced a fourth consecutive massive three-quarter point hike.
But “a substantial majority of participants judged that a slowing in the pace of increase would likely soon be appropriate,” according to minutes of the November meeting released Wednesday.
“A slower pace in these circumstances would better allow the committee to assess progress toward its goals of maximum employment and price stability,” the minutes said.
A few participants of the meeting also found that easing the pace could reduce risks of instability in the financial system.
But policymakers agreed that inflation was “unacceptably high” and well above their longer-run goal of two percent.
A growing number of voices, including some Fed officials, have advocated for smaller steps in the coming months.