WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve’s promise of gradual rate hikes in coming months means the central bank will not raise rates at every meeting, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said on Monday.
“Moving up gradually means not at every meeting, in all likelihood,” Lockhart said in an interview on WABE radio in Atlanta. The more probable pace of upcoming hikes “will be more like every other meeting,” Lockhart said.
The Fed’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee meets eight times a year.
“It is going to depend on how the economy actually performs,” Lockhart said, adding that he does not expect the turn toward higher rates to “snuff out” economic growth.
Lockhart said he sees growth next year as ”improved...but not jumping off the charts...I am not going to overstate the momentum of the economy but it is solid and that is the way this decision should be interpreted.”
The global economy should also help more than hurt in coming months with China’s growth rate “stabilized” at between six and six-and-a-half percent and Europe likely “to improve a little,” Lockhart said.
The Atlanta Fed president voted in favor of the Fed’s quarter-point interest rate hike last week. He will not be a voter on the Fed’s rate-setting committee in 2016.
Reporting by Howard Schneider; Editing by Andrea Ricci