The minutes from the January Fed meeting were released at 2:00pm this afternoon. The full text can be found here:
“Although the stance of policy seemed close to where it needed to be given the current outlook, some further policy firming might be needed to keep inflation pressures contained and the risks to price stability and sustainable economic growth roughly in balance. In the view of some members, the possibility of additional policy moves was reinforced by readings on core inflation and inflation expectations that were somewhat higher than was desirable over the long run. However, all members agreed that the future path for the funds rate would depend increasingly on economic developments and could no longer be prejudged with the previous degree of confidence. “
“Real personal consumption expenditures appeared to have increased only modestly in the fourth quarter, as spending on motor vehicles was restrained following a surge in the summer in response to manufacturers’ price incentives. Outside of motor vehicles, consumption was brisk, supported by job growth, increases in personal income, and the decline in energy prices. Consumption was also likely supported by further gains in home values and equity prices that raised the ratio of household wealth to disposable income relative to that seen earlier in 2005. Consumer sentiment measured by surveys moved up in December and, judging by the preliminary reading of the Michigan Survey, edged up further in January.
Activity in the housing market appeared to continue at high levels, although there were some indications of slowing. Single-family housing starts decreased markedly in December; however, this decline may have been due in part to unusually cold and wet weather in some areas of the country. Multifamily housing starts increased in December. Sales of new and existing homes remained at elevated levels but slowed somewhat toward the end of the year. Moreover, the stock of homes for sale increased to the upper end of ranges seen in recent years. Recent data on mortgage applications and survey measures of homebuying attitudes also pointed to some cooling in the housing market. “