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Minutes show Fed ready to raise rates, shrink balance sheet soon

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The Federal Reserve on Wednesday released the minutes from its Jan. 25-26 meeting.

Following the meeting, the policymaking Federal Open Market Committee said it would not raise interest rates yet but strongly indicated a hike is on the way as soon as March.

In addition, the committee set out procedures for how it will start unwinding its nearly $9 trillion balance sheet, which consists largely of bonds it has purchased in an effort to drive down rates and stimulate growth.

Since the meeting, fresh inflation readings have shown prices rising at the fastest pace in 40 years. The Fed targets inflation to average around 2%, and officials have conceded that policy needs to get tighter to bring prices down.

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