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Lockhart Says Fed Can Shrink Balance Sheet in ‘Orderly Fashion’

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said he expects the central bank will shrink its $4.1 trillion balance sheet “as the economy gets stronger and stronger.”

One way would be to sell some assets and “I am reasonably confident this can be done in an orderly fashion,” Lockhart said in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Fed last month trimmed its monthly bond purchases to $65 billion from $75 billion and has been unwinding the unprecedented stimulus that former Chairman Ben S. Bernanke put in place to help the economy recover from the worst recession since the 1930s. Janet Yellen was sworn in as his successor this week.

Answering audience questions after a speech to the Rotary Club of Birmingham, Lockhart said he thinks “the public feels more confident about 2014, even with the mixed data we take in every day. I think there is good reason for that.”

A former Georgetown University professor, Lockhart has led the Atlanta Fed since 2007 and doesn’t have a vote on the policy-making Federal Open Market Committee this year. His district includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

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