Gold settles lower, then seesaws after Fed meeting minutes

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Gold settles lower, then seesaws after Fed meeting minutes

The statement released at the meeting only indicated such a process would start this year.

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.

"Most participants viewed the recent softness in these price data as largely reflecting idiosyncratic factors.however, several participants expressed concern that progress.might have slowed and that the recent softness in inflation might persist", the Fed said in the minutes. 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 global developments.

The main theme is that officials are divided on inflation, rates and when to trim the balance sheet. This is because a rate hike can have an impact at a lag.

"After assessing current conditions and the outlook for economic activity, the labor market, and inflation, all but one member agreed to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1 to 1-1/4 percent".

Fed officials say their forecasts have been only modestly affected by the new administration's pledges to cut taxes, reduce regulation and increase spending on infrastructure - measures that, almost six months into Trump's presidency, have yet to be enacted. "A few participants expressed concern that subdued market volatility, coupled with a low equity premium, could lead to a buildup of risks to financial stability".

Some Fed members were concerned that investors' strong appetite for risk "might be contributing to elevated asset prices more broadly", the minutes read. Any profit the Fed has at the end of the year must be sent to the U.S. Treasury.

At the June meeting, the Fed gave a clear outline of its plan this year to reduce its portfolio but gave no precise timing.

The Federal Reserve is figuring out when to start unloading much of its $4.5 trillion in bond holdings - a major turning point for an economy still healing from the 2008 financial crisis.

The plan, approved in June, involves the Fed slowly reducing its holdings by gradually allowing an increasing amount of proceeds from maturing securities to be run off the books each month.

Fed officials updated their balance-sheet policy in the gathering, laying out a path of gradual reductions with caps.

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