Fed’s Lockhart Says U.S. Growth Depends on Fiscal ‘Obstacles’

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said the near-term outlook for the U.S. economy will depend on the resolution of fiscal challenges.

“Growth prospects will depend on the removal of short-term obstacles to growth,” Lockhart said today in the text of remarks given in Madrid. “Chief among these is finding workable solutions to immediate fiscal problems and to the uncertainty these challenges generate.”

Lockhart said the U.S. economy will grow at a rate of between 2 percent and 2.5 percent this year.

“I could be wrong, but I don’t expect 2013 to be a break-out year,” Lockhart said. “I hope I’m pleasantly surprised about upside prospects for the U.S. economy.”

Lockhart, who doesn’t vote on monetary policy this year, said he sees some “hopeful signs” in recent economic data, including in the housing, hydrocarbon energy and auto manufacturing industries. He also pointed to “quite buoyant” U.S. equity markets.

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