The minutes released on Wednesday, 16 EST, show that the monetary policy meeting in January this year, the participating Fed policymakers believe that whether to raise interest rates or reduce the size of the balance sheet (taper), the Fed’s pace of monetary tightening is likely to be faster than the previous rate hike and taper.
As with the January post-meeting resolution statement, the minutes released signals of a possible rate hike in March, but did not hint at the possibility of a significant rate hike in March, and did not mention more details such as the timing of tapering.
U.S. retail sales
U.S. retail sales surged in January as auto and online spending soared. However, January’s unadjusted retail sales data plunged 18.5% from a year earlier to a record high, showing the impact of soaring inflation.
On Wednesday, data from the U.S. Department of Commerce showed that U.S. retail sales rose 3.8% in January from a year earlier, compared with expectations of 2% and the previous value of -1.9%, the largest increase since March last year.
The S&P/ASX 200 benchmark added 0.6 per cent in the opening minutes of trade on Thursday after a series of encouraging results from blue chips before markets opened.
Victoria eases workplace rules
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is announcing density limits in hospitality and entertainment venues will be scrapped from 5pm on Friday.
QR check-ins are also being dropped for workplaces and schools.