Top officials of the U.S. central bank appear unlikely to raise the key interest rate in June as some analysts had expected.
Notes from the most recent meeting at the U.S. Federal Reserve shows officials trying to make sense of disappointing recent economic data that show the economy growing more slowly than expected, and inflation remaining lower than they consider ideal.
The summary was made public Wednesday after the customary three-week delay.
The next scheduled meeting of the committee that sets interest rates is on June 16-17. Some analysts quoted in the financial press now expect rates to rise in September or later.
The Fed cut interest rates to record lows in 2008 in an effort to counter the recession. Lower interest rates cut the cost of borrowing money needed to make purchases, thereby raising economic activity and growth.
With unemployment falling nearly to normal levels, officials are seeking the right time to end this stimulus. Remove the help too soon, and the economy could lapse back into recession. Maintain the stimulus too long, and there is a risk it could push inflation up to levels that could damage the economy.
The situation may be clarified on Friday, when Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is scheduled to give a speech on the U.S. economic outlook.