WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Federal Reserve officials expressed their confidence in the economy and viewed next interest rate hike would be "fairly soon", minutes of the Fed's latest monetary policy meeting showed Wednesday.
"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," said the minutes of the Fed's latest monetary policy meeting which was held on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.
A few officials noted that it might be appropriate to move "potentially at an upcoming meeting", which would allow the central bank greater flexibility in responding to changes in economy. The Fed is scheduled to hold its next policy meeting on March 14 and 15.
In its Jan. 31-Feb. 1 meeting, the Fed left the benchmark interest rates unchanged. Last week, Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen said before the Congress that the Fed will consider whether to raise interest rates at upcoming meetings, leaving door open to an interest rate hike in March.
Fed officials also emphasized the uncertainty surrounding the Trump administration's policies.
"Most participants continued to see heightened uncertainty regarding the size, composition, and timing o possible changes to fiscal and other government policies," said the minutes.
Fed officials continued to see the possible expansionary fiscal policy might increase the upside risks to their economic forecasts, while some noted that several potential changes in government policies could pose downside risks.