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Fed has to be gradual, patient in raising rates-Dallas Fed President Kaplan

BEIJING, April 10 (Reuters) - The U.S. economy will be relatively strong this year, Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Robert Kaplan said on Tuesday, but added that the Fed will have to be gradual and patient in raising the federal funds rate in light of headwinds.

Kaplan expected the U.S. economy to grow by 2.5-2.75 percent this year, unemployment to go lower and inflation to gradually pick up toward the 2 percent target.

Economic growth next year will be a little weaker, and will trend down to 1.75 percent by 2020, Kaplan said while on a visit to Beijing.

(Reporting by Elias Glenn; Editing by Kim Coghill)