World Economy

Fed: More US Data Available in Dec.

Fed: More US Data Available in Dec.Fed: More US Data Available in Dec.

There could be sufficient economic data for the Federal Reserve to consider a rate hike at their meeting later in October but there will be a lot more data on hand in time for the December meeting, Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Dennis Lockhart said on Monday.

“I think October is a live meeting, clearly there is the potential that the data coming in, in advance of the October meeting will be sufficient … we have a lot more in December,” he said following a speech to a university association in Florida, Reuters reported.

Lockhart, a centrist on monetary policy, is a voting member of the US central bank’s rate-setting committee this year. He did not rule out supporting a hike at the October meeting.

The US Federal Reserve is considering whether to go ahead with the first rate hike in nearly a decade when policymakers meet Oct. 27-28 and again on Dec. 15-16.

Lockhart said last week that the Fed will need to monitor the strength of the consumer in coming weeks and months in making a decision.

He added on Monday that while the US economy was not directly impacted by China’s recent economic slowdown, the Fed was closely watching Europe which does have higher exposure and could have a knock on effect across the Atlantic.

“If demand for our exports, for example, from Europe declines because of weaker economic activity in the euro zone then we could very well feel it,” Lockhart said.

In a relatively close call, the central bank held off on a rate hike in September in the face of the slowdown in China and elsewhere, financial market turbulence and falling commodity prices.

Lockhart defended the central bank’s data-dependent approach to raising rates and also acknowledged that heightened market volatility was a factor he considered at the September meeting.

He added that he was “comforted” by a reduction in volatility in the financial markets since they were roiled in mid-August, but added “some of the issues that underpinned some of that turbulence still represent uncertainties that we have got to take into consideration.”