WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve officials at their March meeting, the first under new Chairman Jerome Powell, decided to stick with a gradual approach to rate hikes. But officials also discussed the possibility that the future course of rate hikes could accelerate.

The minutes of the Fed’s March 20-21 meeting show that a number of participants believed that a stronger outlook for economic activity plus rising inflation implied that the path for the Fed’s key interest rate in coming years “would likely be slightly steeper than previously expected.”

The minutes showed that some Fed officials felt it might eventually become appropriate to revise the Fed’s policy statement to indicate a need to move past an “accommodative” level for rates to one that restrained economic activity slightly to keep inflation under control.