U.S. Federal Reserve officials are exploring raising interest rates and pulling back on economic help extended during the pandemic if inflation continues to rise, minutes from a meeting held in early November show.

Fast facts

  • The meeting, held on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3, included the Federal Open Market Committee and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. “Various participants noted that the committee should be prepared to adjust the pace of asset purchases and raise the target range for the federal funds rate sooner than participants currently anticipated if inflation continued to run higher than levels consistent with the committee’s objectives,” the meeting minutes noted. However, officials suggested a patient approach to incoming data amid the U.S. inflation rate reaching a 30-year high.
  • At the meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee decided to reduce its monthly bond-buying program and also decided to adjust the rate of purchases in the coming months depending on the economic outlook.
  • While the Fed has a longer-term inflation target of 2%, prices in the U.S. have surged drastically this year. The consumer price index jumped 6.2% in October — the highest 12-month increase since November 1990. The core CPI increased by 4.6% year-on-year — the largest 12-month hike since August 1991. For context, according to one estimate, the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner has increased by 20% since last year.