Federal Reserve signals December rate rise likely

US-USA-America-Federal-Reserve-Fed-700x450.jpgMembers of the Federal Reserve have suggested they want to hike interest rates in December, minutes of the central bank’s October meeting shows.

Fed officials said it might be appropriate to increase rates from near-zero levels next month provided there were no “unanticipated shocks”.

The minutes showed that conditions for beginning the policy normalisation process “may well be met” by the meeting next month.

In particular, Fed officials said the jobs market is improving and inflation is starting to move towards their 2 per cent annual target.

The minutes said: “It may well become appropriate to initiate the normalisation process at the next meeting, provided that unanticipated shocks do not adversely affect the economic outlook and that incoming data support the expectation that labour market conditions will continue to improve and that inflation will return to the Committee’s 2 per cent objective over the medium term.”

The Federal Reserve has kept interest rates near zero since late 2008.

Although the global economic outlook, especially around China, has worried markets in recent months, the minutes suggested that some officials felt the US had come through these difficulties.

“The US financial system appeared to have weathered the turbulence in global financial markets without any sign of systemic stress,” the minutes said.