Fed Minutes to Give Clues on Officials' View of Economy, Rate Path

Fed proposes raising capital requirements for big Wall Street banks in major rules change

The U.S. Federal Reserve released the minutes from its March meeting at 1800 GMT on Wednesday, and for the first time in almost ten years, it discussed the need to take action to slow the economy.

At the March 20-21 meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to raise its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to a range of 1.50% to 1.75%, as had been widely expected.

United States central bankers were more confident on the economic outlook when they last met to decide on policy with several of the belief that at some point in about two years' time rates would need to rise above their normal longer-run value.

Committee members unanimously "viewed the recent data and other developments bearing on real economic activity as suggesting that the outlook for the economy beyond the current quarter had strengthened in recent months".

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Investors are watching whether the Fed will increase the pace of hikes. As a result, the Committee strengthened their view that inflation would increase and stabilize around their stated 2 percent goal in the coming months.

The Fed released the document on Wednesday. The markets are expecting 2 more this year.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said last Friday that the central bank would likely need to keep raising rates to keep inflation under control, but also pledged to stick to a gradual path.

Fed officials saw USA trade spats with China as a risk to the economy when they held a policy meeting in March.

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Several thought it would likely also become appropriate at some point for interest rates to rise above the Fed's longer-run estimate for a time.

Since then, China and the U.S. have announced additional tariffs on key products.

But the minutes indicate Fed policymakers were concerned about downside risks.

The big issue that's dominated markets news since then has been United States trade frictions with China, with both countries announcing tariffs on key products they buy from each other.

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