WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve is preparing to raise its benchmark interest rate in December despite the concerns of some Fed officials about the persistent weakness of inflation, according to an account of the Fed’s most recent policy meeting.
The account, which the Fed published Wednesday, described officials as united in confusion about the reasons that inflation is weak but divided about the consequences. While some officials favored watching and waiting, a majority of Fed officials — including the chairwoman, Janet L. Yellen — have made clear that they are inclined to keep raising the Fed’s benchmark rate.
At the two-day meeting that ended Nov. 1, those officials were “reasonably confident that the economy and inflation would evolve in coming months such that an additional firming would likely be appropriate in the near term,” the Fed said.
The group made no changes to monetary policy at the meeting; it had signaled in advance of the meeting that it would not act before December. It left its benchmark rate in a range of 1 percent to 1.25 percent, and did not alter the instructions for the gradual reduction of its $4 trillion portfolio of Treasury securities and mortgage bonds now underway.
But the meeting account, released after a standard three-week delay, is likely to solidify investor expectations that the Fed will raise rates by a quarter-point at the December meeting.