Federal Reserve policymakers in favour of ‘restrictive’ policy

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin right says the president respects the central bank's independence

The minutes did not indicate that officials had reached a conclusion, but they did show that all Fed officials favored gradual rate hikes in response to a strong economy and low unemployment.

The minutes did suggest, however, that the committee remains split on how much further to raise rates next year, with a few participants expecting rates would need to rise enough to modestly restrain economic growth, even as two others "indicated that they would not favor adopting a restrictive policy stance in the absence of clear signs of an overheating economy and rising inflation".

U.S. central bankers see no reason to pause the current course of gradual rate hikes that have infuriated President Donald Trump and some even say the Federal Reserve may soon need to slow the economy, according to meeting minutes released Wednesday. Trump has previously called Fed policies "crazy".

Trump's criticism intensified after last week's big stock market tumble, which has been partially reversed this week.

Trump's criticisms mark a departure from the practices of his recent predecessors.

USA presidents usually remain silent on such issues in respect toward the Fed's independence.

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Trump appointed Powell but told Fox, "maybe it's right, maybe it's wrong".

"To politicize it and to undermine that is something that is essentially damaging to the Fed and to financial stability", said Yellen, whose term as chair expired early this year.

Trump was more specific Tuesday in his critique, pointing to low inflation numbers. Traders of futures contracts tied to the Fed's policy rate see rates topping out at about 3 percent.

Others said that, to avoid creating asset bubbles or having inflation run above the Fed's 2 per cent target for too long, the central bank would have to raise rates "above their assessments of its longer-run level".

On the other hand, while risks were 'roughly balanced, ' some Fed members said instability in emerging economies - many of which are heavily indebted and vulnerable when U.S. rates rise - could 'spread more broadly through the global economy and financial markets'. "No one wants the president to opine on the Fed".

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