Traders keep bets on two Fed rate hikes after release of minutes

Jan 3 (Reuters) – U.S. short-term interest-rate futures fell slightly on Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s December meeting suggested policymakers were by and large confident that they will need to raise rates further this year.

“Most participants reiterated their support for continuing a gradual approach to raising the target range, noting that this approach helped to balance risks to the outlook for economic activity and inflation,” the Fed said in the minutes released Wednesday.

Traders added slightly to bets on rate hikes this year in response, giving a March rate hike about a 70 percent chance, compared with 68 percent before the released of the minutes, based on a Reuters analysis of fed funds futures traded at CME Group Inc’s Chicago Board of Trade. (Reporting by Ann Saphir in San Francisco Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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