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Lockhart: Fed may tighten even with unemployment high
November 10, 2009 / 3:20 PM / 8 years ago

Lockhart: Fed may tighten even with unemployment high

ATLANTA, Ga.,, Nov 10 (Reuters) - The economic conditions the Federal Reserve outlined last week for keeping interest rates low were not meant to be exhaustive and there could be scenarios in which the Fed could tighten even with unemployment “frustratingly high”, a top Fed official said on Tuesday.

The Fed last week kept its benchmark interest rate near zero and outlined three economic conditions to watch: resource utilization, inflation trends and inflation expectations.

Dennis Lockhart, president of the Atlanta Fed, said the conditions listed were not “necessarily meant to be exhaustive, it is beginning to frame some sense of the conditions that would give rise to a change in rates.”

Asked whether the Fed could tighten even with unemployment high, Lockhart said:

“Certainly there are scenarios in which the unemployment rate might still be at a frustratingly high level, in which still the overall conditions justify beginning to tighten.”

Lockhart said asset prices are another dot to be connected.

“Going forward I intend to include asset price movements as one of the things to be watched,” he said.

Reporting by Kristina Cooke, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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