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Fed's Lockhart sees only gradual inflation rise

Fed's Lockhart sees only gradual inflation rise (by Greg Robb)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Inflation should rise only gradually over the next two years to "healthier" levels from current "very low levels," said Dennis Lockhart, the president of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank on Monday. A few months ago, fear of deflation was justified but recently this concern has abated as the rate of inflation has stabilized, Lockhart said in remarks at Miami Dade College. Many economists see inflation as a looming threat because of higher oil and food prices. Lockhart said that these higher input costs have not translated into broad inflation. He noted that inflation expectations have stabilized in a "healthy range." Lockhart said the economy is making real, but fitful progress. "The moderate pace of economic expansion seems to have momentum and I believe it should prove sustainable as the year progresses," he said.