Federal Reserve looks ahead to more, gradual interest rate hikes

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Federal Reserve officials last month discussed the impact of further hikes in interest rates, saying that by next year they could be at levels that might begin to slow economic growth. | Getty

WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve officials last month discussed the impact of further hikes in interest rates, saying that by next year they could be at levels that might begin to slow economic growth.

While not forecasting a recession, Fed officials said they were monitoring changes in market-set interest rates. A narrowing in the gap between short-term and long-term rates has been an accurate predictor of downturns in the past.

The Fed officials also noted heightened concerns from businesses about President Donald Trump’s get-tough trade policies and that some executives had already scaled back future spending plans because of the uncertainty.

The discussions were revealed with release of the minutes of the Fed’s June meeting in which the central bank boosted its key rate for a second time this year.

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