"As things settle down, I will be ready for the first policy move on the path to a more normal interest rate environment," he said in prepared remarks. "I am confident the much-used phrase 'later this year' is still operative."
The Federal Open Market Committee, of which Lockhart is a voting member, said in a statement last week that it had opted to leave the key federal funds rate unchanged. Many had speculated that the Fed could have announced its first rate hike since 2006.
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Lockhart said the decision not to move in September was "prudent risk management," but he also said the U.S. economy is "performing solidly" and the country has met the criteria for "further improvement in the labor markets."
Wage pressure, he added, has become more widespread.
Still, he explained that he supported the decision to hold off on a rate hike, and that it was prudent to consider the possible change in economic outlook. But, Lockhart said, market swings—linked to China and other international issues—are not his "central concern."