Fed affirms readiness to slow pace of rate hikes

STORY: The top officials at the U.S. Federal Reserve all agree that the central bank should slow the pace of its aggressive interest rate hikes - but to do so gradually as not to jeopardize economic growth.

That's according to minutes from the Fed's December meeting released Wednesday.

The minutes show policymakers remain focused on reining in inflation, while also taming any "misperception" in financial markets.

Lisa Erickson is a senior vice president U.S. Bank Wealth Management.

“what you're seeing here with these minutes is really a continuation of that tone where the Fed is re-emphasizing, even if they potentially slow the pace again to 25 basis points in the next Fed meeting, they still are very committed to fighting inflation and that they really don't want the market to interpret any smaller potential increase as a weakening of its resolve."

Officials acknowledged they had made "significant progress" over the past year in raising rates enough to bring inflation down…

And as a result, the central bank now needed to balance its fight against rising prices with the risks of slowing the economy too much and "potentially placing the largest burdens on the most vulnerable groups" through higher-than-necessary unemployment.

Policymakers approved a half-percentage-point point rate increase at last month's meeting, a step back from the three-quarters-of-a-percentage-point hikes used through much of 2022.