All Fed banks voted to hold discount rate steady before last meeting: minutes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve’s 12 regional banks wanted to keep unchanged the rate commercial banks are charged for emergency loans ahead of the U.S. central bank’s last policy meeting, minutes from the discussion of the discount rate showed on Thursday.

The Fed kept the discount rate unchanged at 2.25% at its Dec. 10-11 meeting in keeping with its unanimous decision to also leave its benchmark overnight lending rate in a target range of between 1.50% and 1.75%.

The Fed cut interest rates three times last year but signaled at its last meeting that it expected to keep rates on hold for the foreseeable future unless there a significant change in the U.S. economic outlook.

Directors of the Fed banks described U.S. economic conditions as “positive and were optimistic about the prospects for economic growth,” the minutes said. “Many directors noted continued strength in consumer spending and sentiment going into the holiday season.”

Investors currently see the central bank cutting rates once this year but not until at least September.

Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir; Editing by Andrea Ricci