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Fed's Lockhart says economy is in solid shape for rate tightening cycle

Dennis Lockhart, President, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, takes part in a panel discussion titled "Twist and Shout: The Limits of U.S. Monetary Policy" at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California May 1, 2012. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank president Dennis Lockhart said on Thursday there was little risk of a misstep that would force the Fed to lower rates once it begins raising them.

The economy is in solid shape to weather the upcoming turn to tightening monetary policy Lockhart, said at an investment education conference in Detroit.

"Conditions are pretty solid," said Lockhart, who regards an initial rate hike at the June, July or September Fed meetings as a high probability. "I take the decision pretty seriously," Lockhart said. "Once we start, I want to be able to move deliberately" towards higher rates.

Lockhart said he also felt the divergence of monetary policy among major central banks was partly behind the recent rise of the dollar.


(Reporting by Howard Schneider; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)