Speed Reads

Monetary Policy

Fed mulls faster interest rate increases to address inflation

The Federal Reserve is considering an accelerated timetable for interest rate increases, according to the minutes of the Fed's Jan. 25-26 meeting, which became public Wednesday.

The Wall Street Journal reports the first interest rate increase will take effect in March, followed by additional increases "at consecutive policy meetings, which occur roughly every six weeks, something they haven't done since 2006."

Although "the Fed raised interest rates between 2015 and 2018, it did so gradually—and never more than once every quarter," the Journal adds.

A Bureau of Labor Statistics report earlier this month found that inflation was rising at the fastest rate in 40 years. A separate report in January showed a 7 percent increase in consumer prices over 12 months, the largest increase in 39 years.

At the Fed meeting, "most participants suggested that a faster pace of increases in the target range for the federal-funds rate than in the post-2015 period would likely be warranted," especially if "inflation dos not move down as they expect," the minutes read.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell admitted during a confirmation hearing last month that the Fed failed to anticipate the severity of inflation but that if "we have to raise interest rates more over time, we will. We will use our tools to get inflation back [under control]."