Fed on lookout for recession but still sees strong economy: minutes

08 Juillet, 2018, 13:08 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Fed on lookout for recession but still sees strong economy: minutes

"Many district contacts expressed concern about the possible adverse effects of tariffs and other proposed trade restrictions, both domestically and overseas, on future investment activity", according to minutes released Thursday of the Fed's June 12-13 policy meeting in Washington.

The possibility of a full-blown trade war has forced some companies to pause investment plans, the Federal Reserve said Thursday.

The minutes, which described a meeting in which the Fed raised interest rates for the second time this year, also suggested policymakers might soon signal that the Fed's rate-hiking cycle was advanced enough that policy was no longer boosting or constraining the economy.

Stocks remained higher and Treasury yields were little changed after the release of the minutes.

US Federal Reserve policy makers highlighted apprehension among the business community that the Trump administration's trade policy could weigh on the economy, minutes of their latest meeting revealed.

Some members of the FOMC also stressed in the minutes that uncertainty and risks about trade policy have intensified, and warned they could have negative effects on business sentiment and investment spending.

Many of the Fed's contacts across the economy said they were anxious that a recent increase in tariffs levied by the United States and its trading partners was weighing on investment, according to the minutes' summary of policymaker discussions.

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Monetary policy remains on course, despite worries about a global trade war, triggered by escalating retaliatory tariffs.

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the second time this year in its June meeting, amid concerns of a lurking worldwide trade war, sparked by President Donald Trump's relentless stance on tariffs.

Despite those risks, "the economy is doing very well", as Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters after the decision.

The Atlanta Fed's GDPNow tracker put the rate of expansion last quarter at 4.1 percent, while the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg is for 2.9 percent for the full year.

"Contacts in some districts indicated that plans for capital spending had been scaled back or postponed as a result of uncertainty over trade policy", the minutes said.

The minutes said USA central bankers debated the amount of labor-market slack left in the economy, with "several" participants saying "there was further scope for a strong labor market to continue to draw individuals into the workforce".

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