Federal Reserve eyes December rate rise

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Members 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 are no “unanticipated shocks”.

The minutes reveal 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 the 2 per cent annual target.

The minutes say: “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 labor 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, have worried markets in the past months, the minutes suggest 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 say.