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5th of April 2017, 5:57:53 PM

Fed minutes: Gradual rate hikes appropriate; Dollar surges higher

Several Federal Reserve officials agreed that gradual rate hikes are likely appropriate this year, and favoured a plan to begin reducing its $4.5 trillion balance sheet ‘later this year’, according to the FOMC minutes released on Wednesday.“Most participants anticipated that gradual increases in the federal funds rate would continue and judged that a change to the committee’s reinvestment policy would likely be appropriate later this year,” according to minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s March 14-15 meeting released Wednesday in Washington.Consensus among Federal Reserve officials concerning the impact of President Trump's fiscal stimulus package on growth appeared to be mixed, as some Fed officials didn’t factor in the impact of fiscal stimulus on their growth projections while others believed that the impact of fiscal stimulus on economic growth would only come into effect in 2018.During the March meeting, Federal Reserve officials warned that upcoming elections in the European Union (EU) countries posed both near-term and longer-term risks.The US Dollar Index Futures, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was at 101.67, up 0.24%. The dollar leaped to a session high of 100.91, following the release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve's March meeting.Elsewhere, U.S. equities moved higher, with all three major U.S. indexes in positive territory:The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 0.75% higher at 20,844. The S&P 500 gained 0.68% and the Nasdaq Composite traded higher at 5,931.Gold Futures dipped slightly to trade down 0.77% at $1,248.00 while Treasury yields inched higher with the U.S. 10-Year trading at around 2.375, up 1.06% by 14:23 EDT.

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