US Economy

Lockhart expects rate hike this year, does not repeat Sept. call

Lockhart: Expects rate hikes 'sometime this year'

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said on Monday that he does expect a rate hike "sometime this year," although he did not repeat his September call.

Lockhart was speaking at the 2015 Public Pension Funding Forum in Berkeley, California. The event was co-hosted by the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems.

He said that the hike would be a gradual process in which raters would remain low "for quite some time."

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This month, the Fed official said that he was predisposed to a September hike on the back of improving economic conditions.

On Monday, Lockhart said that a stronger U.S. dollar, weaker yuan and lower oil price could complicate the growth forecast. Within the U.S., however, he expects moderate job growth, rising inflation and solid consumer spending.

He also forecasts an improvement in business spending, excluding the energy sector, and gains in both productivity and wages.

Lockhart is considered a centrist on the U.S. central bank's policy-setting committee.

What the selloff means for the Fed

The speech took place on one of the worst trading sessions for U.S. markets. Stocks plummeted on Monday, following a renewed rout in global markets, under severe pressure from continued fears of slowing growth in China spilling over internationally.

During the first 90 minutes of trade, the Dow Jones industrial average traveled more than 3,000 points in down and up moves.

Now, more than ever, investors are looking for clues from the Fed as to whether it will hike interest rates in September.

But Monday's panicked selloff has even led to some talk of the Fed extending quantitative easing, rather than raising rates. Regardless of whether that could really happen, the talk does point to how pessimistic investors are feeling about a slowing global economy.

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—Reuters and CNBC's Evelyn Cheng and Jeff Cox contributed to this report.