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Fed might not raise interest rates soon

WASHINGTON – Feb. 18, 2016 – Federal Reserve officials appear increasingly reluctant to raise short-term interest rates at their March policy meeting – and possibly beyond, thanks to market turbulence, China’s dimmed outlook and indications that inflation could stay at low levels longer than expected.
Fed officials struggled with uncertainty about developments at their January policy meeting, according to minutes of the gathering released by the central bank Wednesday. Since the meeting, some officials have started speaking out about their desire to wait to raise interest rates again until they’re sure the U.S. economic outlook isn’t deteriorating and inflation isn’t stuck below their 2 percent target.
At the January 26-27 gathering, officials “agreed that uncertainty had increased, and many saw these developments as increasing the downside risks to the outlook,” said the minutes, which were released with their regular three-week lag.
The Fed’s next policy meeting is March 15-16. Traders in futures markets see a 94 percent chance it won’t raise rates then, an 83 percent chance it won’t move before midyear and about a 50 percent chance the Fed won’t move rates at all in 2016, according to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Source: Wall Street Journal (02/18/16) Hilsenrath, Jon
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