Fed risks Trump's fury over rate increases

Trump slams ‘too independent’ Fed as his ‘biggest threat

The minutes from the meeting showed every Fed policymaker backed raising interest rates, pushing the dollar index to its firmest in a week and knocking emerging currencies that had befitted from a return of carry trade action.

Since the Treasury's last currency report was issued on April 13, the yuan has fallen by more than 9 per cent against the USA dollar. The unemployment rate now stands at a very low 3.7% and is well under most estimates of full employment, which indicates that the labor market has the prospect to drive up inflation at some point.

This would move United States interest rates slightly above what policymakers say is "neutral" - that is, neither slowing nor speeding the economy - but some participants said the Fed would need to go even further than that.

In minutes from last month's central bank rate-setting meeting, which unanimously agreed a third rise of the year, policymakers said further rate hikes "would most likely be consistent" with current economic indicators.

Higher rates can impact consumers by increasing borrowing costs, which have already ticked higher.

Members of the Federal Open Market Committee, which determines the Fed's monetary policy, didn't bother to discuss comments made by Trump warning against further increases in the central bank's benchmark interest rate, according to minutes of the September 25-27 meeting released Wednesday.

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"A few participants expected that policy would need to become modestly restrictive for a time", according to the minutes.

Markets fear currency crises in Turkey, Argentina and other emerging market economies could spread beyond their borders - something that could be sparked as investors pull out to take advantage of higher rates in the US.

"This gradual approach would balance the risk of tightening monetary policy too quickly, which could lead to an abrupt slowing in the economy and inflation moving below the Committee's objective, against the risk of moving too slowly, which could engender inflation persistently above the objective and possibly contribute to a buildup of financial imbalances", the minutes said.

The United States has imposed tariffs on about $250 billion in Chinese goods, and Beijing has responded by targeting about $110 billion in USA products.

Fed members said Trump's trade wars both created uncertainty and could boost inflation.

US stock prices recovered some earlier losses but were still down for the day following the minutes.

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