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DeKalb Chamber Hosts Economic Outlook Luncheon

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta CEO hints at interest rate increase



DECATUR, Ga., – Nov. 25, 2015 – In comments during the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce’s General Membership Meeting luncheon last week, Dennis Lockhart, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta hinted at a rise in interest rates in coming months.

“In my opinion, the decision to raise the bedrock policy rate, when and if it comes, should be seen as affirming that the economic outlook is positive. I would hope the announcement effect would bolster confidence in our economic future and contribute to the very outcome I’ve forecasted as the outlook yields to reality,” Lockhart said.

Lockhart told DeKalb Chamber members and guests at the luncheon held at Georgia Aquarium that his overall assessment of the economy and his medium-term outlook has not changed much over the last year. He said that prior to the breakout of heightened financial market volatility in August, he was ready to support “liftoff” of interest rates at a September meeting of the Federal Reserve. “But I supported the decision to hold off. I thought it was prudent to monitor global developments for a while. I also supported the decision at the October meeting to keep the policy rate unchanged because not enough new information had accumulated regarding the drivers of the August volatility. I’m now reasonably satisfied the situation has settled down–at least as regards the likely causes of market volatility that converged in August,” Lockhart said. “I’m comfortable with moving off zero soon, conditioned on no marked deterioration in economic conditions.”

Al Edwards, chairman of the DeKalb Chamber, said the business community has been anticipating the interest rate increase for some months.

“The business community likes certainty. It allows us to plan and anticipate. Today’s comments from Dennis Lockhart did not come as a surprise, nor do I see it as bad news – quite the opposite. A rise in interest rates indicates a positive outlook in the US and global markets. I see that as good news for many businesses, even if it means the cost of borrowing money increases a bit,” Edwards said.

Katerina Taylor, president of the DeKalb Chamber, also spoke positively about Lockhart’s remarks. “The role of the Chamber is to provide as much information as we can to our members, in order for them to make the best decisions they can in their respective fields. My take away from today is that 2016 is going to be a positive growth year for business. This was an important discussion on buying and spending power for the year ahead,” Taylor said.

Some 130 metro Atlanta business leaders and executives attended the luncheon.

ABOUT DEKALB CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The DeKalb Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based organization with the mission to support, promote and sustain business development in DeKalb County. With 77 years of service in the community, DeKalb Chamber focuses on four critical areas including education, workforce and economic development, public policy, and business member services. We are the primary resource for businesses in DeKalb County. For more information on DeKalb Chamber, please visit their website at www.dekalbchamber.org or call 404-378-8000.

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