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WASHINGTON (MNI) - The following is an excerpt from the Federal Open
Market Committee minutes of the September 25 - 26 meeting, published
Participants noted that business fixed investment had grown
strongly so far this year. A few commented that recent changes in
federal tax policy had likely bolstered investment spending. Contacts in
most sectors remained optimistic about their business prospects, and
surveys of manufacturing activity were broadly favorable. Despite this
optimism, a number of contacts cited factors that were causing them to
forego production or investment opportunities in some cases, including
labor shortages and uncertainty regarding trade policy. In particular,
tariffs on aluminum and steel were cited as reducing new investment in
the energy sector. Contacts also suggested that firms were attempting to
diversify the set of countries with which they tradeboth imports and
exportsas a result of uncertainty over tariff policy. Contacts in the
agricultural industry reported that tariffs imposed by China had
resulted in lower crop prices, further depressing incomes in that
sector, although a new federal program was expected to offset some
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