Via Westpac's analysis of the Federal Open Market Committee minutes (in brief, bolding mine):
The minutes of the January FOMC meeting make clear that "gradual" remains the operative word for policy
- Clear in this communication was greater optimism over the outlook for the labour market and growth, but also a reluctance to believe that activity momentum will translate into a material lift in wage and consumer inflation. At January, the risks were seen as balanced.
a continued 'gradual' increase in the fed funds rate through 2018 and 2019 (five hikes in total) is still the best base case.
- However, a careful eye will need to remain on financial conditions. Should they continue to move in the opposite direction to policy, a more concerted effort by the FOMC may prove necessary to keep the economy on an even footing.