(Adds comments on Brexit, stock valuations, background)
WASHINGTON, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank
President Dennis Lockhart said on Tuesday it was too soon to
rule out an interest rate increase at the U.S. central bank's
next meeting in September, with a lot of data set to come in on
the health of the economy.
"At this point, I don't rule out a rate increase at the next
meeting or later in the year," Lockhart said on CNBC. "We just
have to wait and see how the data come in."
Lockhart, who does not have a vote on monetary policy this
year, said the U.S. economy was faring better than its 1.2
percent annualized rate of growth in the second quarter would
suggest, with consumer spending strong and inventories masking
"The situation is maybe a little bit ambiguous, but I can
imagine conditions in which we could have a rate hike," he
added. "I'd like to see the economy tell us that it's OK to
The Fed has held rates steady since raising them for the
first time in nearly a decade in December, and financial markets
have curbed bets on any follow-up increase this year amid mixed
signals on the U.S. economy and concerns about growth overseas.
Lockhart said Britain's decision to exit the European Union
still posed risks over the medium term, even as near-term risks
seemed to have faded.
He also expressed concern about what he called relatively
lofty valuations in financial markets.
"Asset valuations are something that we have to continue to
monitor and watch, and at the moment I would say they
particularly deserve watching because they are relatively
buoyant or relatively high," Lockhart said.
(Reporting by Timothy Ahmann; Editing by Leslie Adler and James
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