Federal Reserve officials concluded at their January meeting that inflation was running too high, warranting a hike in the benchmark interest rate soon and potentially justifying a faster pace of tightening.

"Most participants noted that, if inflation does not move down as they expect, it would be appropriate for the Committee to remove policy accommodation at a faster pace than they currently anticipate," minutes of the January 25 to 26 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting said.

Surging inflation has spurred some U.S. central bankers to revise up their outlook for rate increases this year, while both Democrats and Republicans are urging the Fed to get price pressures under control. President Joe Biden's approval ratings have fallen recently as Americans feel the squeeze at the grocery store and gas pump, and the price pressures are making it that much more difficult for his administration to pass another stimulus package.

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