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Fed Minutes: Improving labor market means earlier rate hikes

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Investing.com -

Investing.com - Some monetary authorities favor raising U.S. interest rates sooner than later, as the economy appears poised to absorb slackness in the labor market, the minutes from the Federal Reserve's July 30 policy meeting revealed on Wednesday.

The Federal Reserve voted to leave benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.00-0.25% and added it would cut its monthly bond-buying program to $25 billion from $35 billion.

The Fed said on July 30 that the overall economy is improving, though slackness remains in the labor market despite growth, which prompted monetary authorities to continue tapering its asset-purchasing program by only $10 billion per policy meeting.

The Fed's stimulus bond-buying program is seen concluding around October, and rate hikes are expected in 2015, though the timing of the latter remains up in the air.

While some monetary authorities favored studying more data before deciding, others felt action should come sooner rather than later.

"Many participants noted that if convergence toward the Committee's objectives occurred more quickly than expected, it might become appropriate to begin removing monetary policy accommodation sooner than they currently anticipated," the minutes read.

"Indeed, some participants viewed the actual and expected progress toward the Committee's goals as sufficient to call for a relatively prompt move toward reducing policy accommodation to avoid overshooting the Committee's unemployment and inflation objectives over the medium term," the minutes added.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said that the U.S. economy is improving though monetary authorities continue to note slackness in the labor market, though the minutes revealed some monetary authorities feel that slackness may be absorbed in the near future.

"Many members noted, however, that the characterization of labor market underutilization might have to change before long, particularly if progress in the labor market continued to be faster than anticipated."

The dollar firmed initially on the news.

The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.39% at 82.25.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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