March 25, 2014 / 8:56 PM / 3 years ago

Fed's Lockhart says first rate hike likely by 2nd half of 2015

ATLANTA, March 25 (Reuters) - A strengthening economy could push the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise interest rates by the second half of next year, a top Fed official said on Tuesday.

"That still is my view," Dennis Lockhart, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, told an investment conference. He added that the rate hike would likely come more than six months after the end of the central bank's current bond-buying stimulus program.

"That is a really a minimum, not a maximum," he said. "(I) think that it's going to be longer than that." (Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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