Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said Wednesday that he is "not overly concerned" with the unusually weak 0.2% growth rate in the first quarter, even if it is revised downward due to the trade deficit. "I am not taking much of a signal from the first quarter in my forecast for the second quarter and the rest of the year," Lockhart said in a speech in Baton Rouge, La. Lockhart said he still expects the economy to bounce back in the second quarter, noting "the dollar has stabilized and oil prices have begun to move up a little" in recent weeks, which could dilute these drags on the economy in the near term. Consumer spending is "the key factor" behind his forecast of solid growth in the rest of 2015, he said. Lockhart is a voting member of the Fed policy committee this year and his views are seen as a bellwether for where the committee is leaning because of his centrist position on policy issues. Last month Lockhart said he favored a rate hike later in the year rather than in June. He did not comment on the timing of lift off in his prepared remarks.
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