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Fed minutes show broad agreement on approach to start shrinking balance sheet

Federal Reserve officials were in broad agreement at their meeting on May 2-3 on a general approach to shrinking the bank’s massive balance sheet, according to minutes of the session released Wednesday. Nearly all Fed officials said they were content with a plan to end the reinvestment of principal of maturing securities – the main approach favored to shrink the balance sheet instead of asset sales- in slow, ever-increasing, stages, rather than ending the reinvestment all at once. In their discussion of interest-rate policy, most Fed officials said it would “soon” be time to raise rates again, a signal that the majority on the central bank remain resolute about hiking rates at their meeting next month. But the discussion of the outlook showed widening divisions among Fed officials, with “several” seeing a possible need to start raising rates at a faster pace, while a few others thought a slower pace was more advisable.

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