© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Federal Reserve building in Washington, U.S., January 26, 2022. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo
By Howard Schneider
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Federal Reserve officials agreed at their last policy meeting that they would proceed “carefully” and only raise interest rates if progress in controlling inflation faltered, the minutes of the Oct. 31-Nov. 1 gathering showed on Tuesday.
“All participants agreed that the Committee was in a position to proceed carefully,” according to the minutes, which appeared to show support for more rate hikes dissipating within the U.S. central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee, and the baseline shifting to one in which its benchmark overnight interest rate remains steady absent a bad inflation surprise.
Inflation has been slowing – consumer prices did not rise at all on a month-to-month basis in October – and while the Fed has not declared its fight against rapid price increases over, the tenor of the discussion has been shifting towards a focus on how long to keep the policy rate in the current 5.25%-5.50% range.
“Participants noted that further tightening of monetary policy would be appropriate if…
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