Fed officials discussed possible rate hike 'fairly soon'

Existing home sales are at 1500 GMT while the FOMC minutes are due at 1900 GMT.

"Several" Fed officials expressed worries that unemployment could fall substantially below the Fed's 4.8 percent unemployment goal. On Monday, Loretta Mester of the Cleveland branch of the Federal Reserve said that, provided the USA economic performance was maintained, was in favor of a rate hike. This may suggest that the market took the outcome of today's minutes to mean an unlikely March hike from the Fed was a lower probability than the skeptical had afforded. The latest jobs report, released February 3, showed employers added 227,000 jobs last month while the labor force participation rate-the share of adults holding or seeking jobs-ticked up to 62.9%.

The minutes were released with the customary three week delay.

There were "a couple" members who though the Fed needed to act anyway, because there were other factors at play besides policy that could spur growth higher than the committee's expectations.

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"Participants again emphasised their considerable uncertainty about the prospects for changes in fiscal and other government policies as well as about the timing and magnitude of the net effects of such changes on economic policies".

This group argued against "adjusting monetary policy in anticipation of policy proposals that might not be enacted or that, if enacted, might turn out to have different consequences for economic activity and inflation than now anticipated".

So, there's a good chance of a mid-March hike, especially since the Fed says there is "considerable uncertainty" about the Trump administration's fiscal policy.

Overnight, US stocks ended mostly lower on the Fed's latest information, although the Dow Jones Industrial Average did record its ninth straight gain and ended 0.2 percent higher to 20,775.60 points.

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Fed Chair Janet Yellen told Congress last week the central bank would begin to allow those assets to roll off its books after its key short-term rate is high enough that it can be lowered in response to economic turbulence.

Most economists have been forecasting a rise in June.

Fed policy makers also seemed unhappy that investors now regard them as a paper tiger given that they've only raised rates twice in two years.

He added: "There's also data coming in - there's spending data, there's inflation data, there's a big jobs report between now and the March meeting". But she did not signal when the next hike might occur.

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