Fed policymakers divided over June rate hike

Newly released minutes of the last US Federal Reserve policy meeting show officials were divided over whether to halt rate increases in June.

The Fed on Wednesday released the minutes of the meeting earlier this month when policymakers unanimously decided to raise the key rate by 25 basis points.

The minutes say several participants noted that further rate hikes may not be necessary if the economy evolves as they expect.

But others said some additional policy tightening would likely be warranted at future meetings because they were concerned that inflation would take too long to slow down to their target of 2 percent.

The Fed statement immediately after the May meeting did not say that policymakers anticipate that further monetary tightening would be appropriate.

Financial markets took that as a sign that the central bank would pause rate hikes in June.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell suggested last week that interest rates may not need to rise much further to curb inflation. He said bank failures in the US have led to credit tightening that is weighing on the economy.