Fed Minutes Suggest Rate Hikes Are Nowhere in Sight

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- If you're waiting for higher interest rates, the Fed has a message: Pull up a comfortable chair, 'cause you'll be waiting.

The central bank thinks the economy is now rebounding from the cold winter -- but it thinks low rates are still a crucial part of the recipe and some parts of the recovery, especially housing, need easier credit, according to minutes of the June 17 to June 18 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, released Wednesday. So while the Fed disclosed plans to end its latest bond-buying spree in October, earlier than the December windup that had been expected, it made clear that the next steps on monetary policy after that will be incremental at best.

Otherwise, the minutes paint a mostly upbeat picture of the economy, including some trouble spots that had been worrying markets until much better-than-expected hiring numbers for June were released last week.

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"Although participants marked down their expectations for average growth of real {gross domestic product} GDP over the first half of 2014, their projections beginning in the second half of 2014 changed little," the minutes said. "Over the next two and a half years, they continued to expect economic activity to expand at a rate sufficient to lead to a further decline in the unemployment rate"

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