US Fed dampens prospect of an April rate rise – business live

Minutes from the central bank showed policymakers are divided but a majority think April would be too soon to raise rates

8.48am BST

Steve Rowe, the man newly in charge of Marks & Spencer, has given his first trading update since taking over the top job on Saturday.

8.29am BST

Europe’s main markets are mostly up this morning, boosted by the Fed’s signal that it is in no immediate hurry to raise rates again.

8.12am BST

Now for some reaction to those Fed minutes. As always its a case of reading between the lines and much of the language is open to interpretation.

Steve Murphy, US economist at Capital Economics:

Although the minutes acknowledge that a few officials were ready to raise interest rates in April, many thought that the Fed should precede more cautiously, in particular because of worries about global downside risks.

At this stage, the chances of an April rate hike are very slim, but we expect the Fed will resume raising rates in June.

As suspected the US Federal Reserve’s FOMC minutes painted a picture of a divided central bank, but what was clear is that [while] there is some appetite to pull the trigger on a rate rise in April it is a sentiment that is not shared amongst the majority of the voting members on the committee.

“A range of views” was expressed about the likelihood of a move in April, but it is clear that policymakers are concerned about the volatility that has rippled through markets for a good part of this year.

Mkts got no clue from Fed min’s. Not as dovish as Yellen but still plus&minuses. Next hike priced for Dec, as before pic.twitter.com/0N6z2FrUd9

Fed minutes summary. pic.twitter.com/CFPJTzLtCO

7.58am BST

Good morning and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets and business.

The US Federal Reserve is unlikely to raise interest rates at its April meeting, the latest minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) suggest.

A number of participants judged that the headwinds restraining growth and holding down the neutral rate of interest were likely to subside only slowly. In light of this expectation and their assessment of the risks to the economic outlook, several expressed the view that a cautious approach to raising rates would be prudent or noted their concern that raising the target range as soon as April would signal a sense of urgency they did not think appropriate.

In contrast, some other participants indicated that an increase in the target range at the Committee’s next meeting might well be warranted if the incoming economic data remained consistent with their expectations for moderate growth in output, further strengthening of the labor market, and inflation rising to 2% over the medium term.

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