Fed's Lockhart sees need for QE through second-half 2013

MADRID Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:57pm EST

MADRID Feb 12 (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve will need to maintain its bond buying program through the second half of this year, a top Fed policymaker said on Tuesday.

"I don't want to speculate on what the Federal Open Market Committee decides," Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Dennis Lockhart told an audience in Madrid. "I have said publicly before, and so I can repeat it, I expect we will certainly need to continue it into the second half of this year."

Lockhart said the Fed could remove accommodation, when warranted, by either tapering off or halting its bond buying program, known as quantitative easing, depending upon conditions at the time.