Gold settles lower, then seesaws after Fed meeting minutes

Posted July 06, 2017

"These views suggest that a third rate hike this year remains a solid base case, but also that such a hike is unlikely to come before the December meeting", said Roberto Perli, an economist at Cornerstone Macro.

While he was the only member of the Federal Open Market Committee to dissent, the minutes noted that "a few" Fed officials who supported the rate increase cautioned that the weakness of inflation might require the Fed to raise rates more slowly going forward. The minutes said some participants see evidence that investors are taking larger risks and a few are concerned about "a buildup of risks to financial stability". This assessment would take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and worldwide developments. Several committee members preferred to announce a start to the process within a couple of months, while others argued for delaying the decision until later in the year, to continue to judge the economy's progress. The increase of 0.25 percentage point raised the rate to between 1% and 1.25%.

A move to start putting the central bank's finances in order could be complicated if the economy doesn't respond as policy makers expect.

In other economic news, new orders for United States manufactured goods fell by more than expected in the month of May, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday.

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Fed officials lowered their long-term projections for both inflation and the unemployment rate, while their projected path for interest rate increases remained mostly unchanged.

In their forecasts, Fed officials have signaled another small rate increase is coming this year, and three more are expected in 2018 until the rate reaches about 2.1%. As the Fed raises rates, lenders have lowered borrowing costs, the opposite of the effect intended by the central bank.

Yellen said last month that asset valuations look "somewhat rich" using traditional metrics like price-earnings ratios. The rate-setting committee is next scheduled to meet to decide interest rate policy on July 25-26. Any profit the Fed has at the end of the year must be sent to the U.S. Treasury. The Federal Reserve accumulated more than $4 trillion of securities after the financial crisis in a bid to make lending cheaper and stimulate the economy.