But as they polled businesses in their districts, Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Raphael Bostic and Richmond Federal Reserve Bank President Thomas Barkin saw an economy still humming, and no clear need for the Fed to ease monetary policy.
Markets are widely expecting the Fed will cut rates when its policymakers gather for their next meeting on July 30-31.
In testimony to a congressional committee, Powell pointed to "broad" global weakness that was clouding the US economic outlook amid uncertainty about the fallout from the Trump administration's trade conflict with China and other nations.
"Many judged additional monetary policy accommodation would be warranted in the near term should these recent developments prove to be sustained and continue to weigh on the economic outlook", the minutes said. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell in congressional testimony this week seemed to set the stage for just such a move, highlighting persistent uncertainty in part due to the U.S. "And they are not materially changing their plans".
Barkin said he is increasingly anxious about rising uncertainty and "fragile" business confidence, and that he does not discount the idea that weak confidence could sap spending and push the US into recession.
Earlier rounds of U.S. tariffs on trading partners including China had been dismissed as of little macroeconomic importance, with the Fed in early May still anticipating its policy rate would remain unchanged in a range of 2.25 per cent to 2.50 per cent for the rest of the year.
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In Albany, New York Thursday, New York Fed President John Williams, added his voice in support of a rate cut, citing uncertainties around trade and global growth and soft inflation.
Barkin's comments raise the possibility that the debate later this month could be less about the size of a possible rate cut, as traders of short-term interest rates are betting, but rather over whether to do a rate cut in the first place.
Powell, in appearances on Capitol Hill this week, bolstered expectations such a cut is coming, and focused on the need to protect the United States against fallout from a weak global economy.
But Trump's tweets about Mexico had a particularly unsettling impact, touching off enough volatility and doubt about the future that it pushed the Fed towards the very rate cuts Trump has demanded for other reasons. Both men say a rate cut is needed to boost inflation expectations.
Between strong job growth and inflation, he believes, stable and close to the Fed's 2% target, current conditions are "a 'keeper, '" Bostic said.