The Federal Open Market committee has warned a decision on whether to raise interest rates in the US could be taken "relatively soon" if the labour market continues to strengthen.

The minutes of a meeting held in September show that three of the ten voting members were in favour of an immediate hike – the first time in five years that so many have leaned in that direction at the same time.

Among the full 17 policymakers in attendance, there was further division over how much more economic data will be needed before a rise is implemented.

The minutes noted that a reasonable argument could be made either for an increase at this meeting or for waiting for some additional information on the labor market and inflation.

But although it was decided that rates should not rise in September, the minutes do say that several members believe that it would be appropriate to be raised relatively soon if economic developments unfolded about as…expected.

It is widely thought that the US economy will see a rise in interest rates before the end of this year, barring any significant volatility in the American markets.

December remains the most likely time for the decision to be taken as the presidential election means the Fed may defer the decision in November.

The weakness of the pound has meant a strengthening of the dollar, and despite a small slump in job creation last month central bank chief Janet Yellen has declared satisfaction with the general health of the US economy.

A previous hike was made last December, increasing interest rates from nearly zero to their current levels of 0.25%-0.5%.

(c) Sky News 2016: Federal Reserve indicates US rate rise could come ‘relatively soon’