Fed Can Afford To Be Patient On First Rate Hike: Lockhart

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The sensible approach to hiking rates is to be patient starting it and cautious about subsequent moves, said Dennis Lockhart, the president of the Atlanta Fed, on Monday. In a speech to the Council for Quality Growth in Atlanta, Lockhart said he was sticking with his forecast of a "mid-year or later" liftoff. It may be clearer in a few months when the U.S. central bank should move and wage growth may be a good leading indicator, he added. The Atlanta Fed president, seen as a middle-of -the-road pragmatist rather than a hawk or dove on the central bank, said forecasts of slowdown in the fourth quarter after strong growth over the past six months was not a signal of an onset of a slowdown. Lockhart will be a voter on the Fed's policy committee in 2015. He is the last Fed official speaking about policy prior to the central bank's meeting next week.

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