Fed's Barkin says sustained high oil prices could 'dampen' consumption, growth

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Crude oil storage tanks are seen from above at the Cushing oil hub, appearing to run out of space to contain a historic supply glut that has hammered prices, in Cushing, Oklahoma, March 24, 2016. REUTERS/Nick Oxford

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COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va., Feb 24 (Reuters) - If the conflict in Ukraine leads to sustained high oil prices it could hit U.S. consumer spending and pose a possible risk to U.S. economic growth, said Richmond Federal Reserve President Tom Barkin.

"If oil prices do continue to go up … It absolutely is going to increase recorded inflation. But it also constrains spending," Barkin said at an economic symposium mapping out one way that the conflict could influence the U.S. economic outlook.

"A lot of people, especially lower income folks, a huge amount of their income goes towards gasoline. So if those prices go up it dampens consumer spending and dampens the economy.”

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Reporting by Howard Schneider Editing by Chris Reese

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