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Fed Vote To Hold Rates Was 10-1

The Federal Reserve's policy-making arm voted 10-1 in July to leave short-term interest rates unchanged with a bias to tighten credit while taking a "wait and see" policy, according to newly released minutes of the meeting.

The fed funds rate, which the central bank uses to push other U.S. interest rates up and down, remains at 5.50 percent. The Fed last changed rates in March 1997.

The Federal Open Market Committee said that while it appeared the U.S. economy was starting to slow from the first quarter's fast pace, "most of the members felt that the risks continued to the point on balance toward rising inflation," the minutes said.

"With regard to the outlook for prices and wages, members observed that some key measures of price inflation had displayed a modest uptilt recently," the minutes said.

The lone dissenter was Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Jerry Jordan, one of two members to vote against the majority in the panel's last meeting, in May.

Jordan called for a rate hike "because he believed that the unsustainably rapid growth of domestic demand - fueled by the acceleration of money and credit growth in the past year - was reflected in the recent sharp increase in imports and rising trade deficits."

Although the FOMC members emphasized the state of the U.S. economy took precedence in its decision-making, overseas played a role as well.

"Another important reason for deferring any policy action was that a tightening move would involve the risk of outsized reactions and consequent destabilizing effects on financial markets in the growing number of countries abroad that were experiencing financial difficulties," the minutes said.

Written By Jeffry Bartash

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