Members of the Federal Reserve wanted more data about the economy before raising interest rates, according to an account of the central bank's July monetary policy meeting released Wednesday.
The Fed officials "generally" thought it would be "prudent to accumulate more data" on job growth and commerce before deciding to raise rates, according to the minutes from the meeting, in which the Fed held short-term rates steady at 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent.
Some members also wanted more reports confirming that inflation was rising toward the Fed's 2 percent target, the minutes indicated. The minutes don't identify the members of the Fed's interest rate-setting commitee by name.
Overall, the account showed that Fed members were split on how quickly they might move to tighten money and divided on what conditions might prompt a move. Wedesday's release could dampen expectations that the Fed could raise interest rates at its next meeting in September.
"A couple" of Fed officials favored raising rates in July, the minutes stated, although only one member of the actual voting committee, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Esther George, voted against the decision to hold rates steady.
Those officials thought that the U.S. was near full employment, and that the Fed is on track to hit its goals, including its 2 percent inflation target, even if it began raising rates.
Others, however, were not concerned about the Fed falling behind and allowing inflation to rise too fast. Several officials said that the Fed would have "ample time" to respond if inflation began to spike while they kept interest rates at the current low level.
Those officials also thought that it would be better to wait, given that if inflation picks up they could easily raise rates, whereas if the economy faltered it would not be easy to lower rates because they're already close to zero.