Federal Reserve officials would be content to let inflation briefly run above their 2 percent target as the economy continues to recover, according to minutes from the central bank's most recent meeting.
Following the May 1-2 session, the policymaking Federal Open Market Committee said it wasn't raising rates yet but added the word "symmetric" to describe its inflation goal. Market participants since have puzzled over what the change in language might imply.
The summary released Wednesday indicates a substantial level of debate over how the Fed should approach inflation. The minutes also pointed to an interest rate hike at the June meeting amid debate over how close the Fed might be getting to the end of this rate-hiking cycle.
While the general sentiment was that inflation would continue to rise toward the 2 percent target, there was disagreement over how confident the Fed should be after years of undershooting, and what that would mean to policy. However, there seemed to be agreement that after years of subpar growth and low inflation, allowing the economy to rev up a little would be appropriate.
"A few participants commented that recent news on inflation, against a background of continued prospects for a solid pace of economic growth, supported the view that inflation on a 12-month basis would likely move slightly above the Committee's 2 percent objective for a time," the minutes said.
"It was also noted that a temporary period of inflation modestly above 2 percent would be consistent with the Committee's symmetric inflation objective and could be helpful in anchoring longer-run inflation expectations at a level consistent with that objective."
"Symmetric" was mentioned at least nine times in the minutes.
The Fed's preferred inflation gauge, the core personal consumption expenditures index, currently is...