US Federal Reserve sees interest rate hikes coming soon

 US Federal Reserve sees interest rate hikes coming soon

Central bankers at the US Federal Reserve held off on raising interest rates at their first meeting of 2017 but cited "moderate" economic growth and labor market conditions that have "continued to improve" as signs that the US may be ready for higher rates "fairly soon."

America's central bank on Wednesday published minutes from the first of its eight scheduled 2017 meetings in the nation's capital. At that gathering, which wrapped up on Feb. 1, the Federal Open Market Committee announced in a short statement that it would leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged.

The details of that meeting suggest they feel pretty good about the US economy's progress at this stage of the recovery, the US News reported.

"In discussing the outlook for monetary policy over the period ahead, many participants expressed the view that it might be appropriate to raise the federal funds rate again fairly soon if incoming information on the labor market and inflation was in line with or stronger than their current expectations or if the risks of overshooting the committee's maximum-employment and inflation objectives increased," the minutes said.

The only two times the Fed has raised its benchmark rate in the past decade occurred in December 2015 and again in December 2016.