Jeffrey Lacker, the president of the Richmond Fed, said Tuesday that he expects solid growth and rising inflation this year, and as a result, would urge the U.S. central bank to start raising interest rates relatively soon. "I expect that, unless incoming economic reports diverge substantially from projections, the case for raising rates will remain strong at the June meeting," Lacker said in a speech prepared for delivery to the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce. Lacker, one of the most hawkish Fed presidents and a voting member of the Fed policy committee this year, has been supporting a June move since the turn of the year. The Richmond Fed president said the key to his outlook is an expected pickup in consumer spending supported by healthy income growth. He said he was looking past some of the unexpectedly weak economic data seen in recent weeks and said the strong dollar and lower energy prices were temporarily holding down inflation.
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