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Fed officials see smooth US rate liftoff despite market risks

[NEW YORK] Two Federal Reserve officials expressed confidence that they will be able to pull off a relatively smooth interest-rate hike when the time comes despite fears of an abrupt market reaction and the central bank's reliance on lightly tested policy tools.

New York Fed President William Dudley, whose branch of the central bank will use a handful of new levers to wrench rates up from near zero, said he does not expect a "huge surprise" or major market reaction to a hike in part because it has been so loudly telegraphed.

Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart, on a panel alongside Dudley, said he was "very confident" in the new tools and noted that the big focus now was deciding whether to make the policy change at a meeting next month.

Futures traders give a 72 per cent chance of a rate hike in December.