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Fed's Bullard says sticking to interest rate and inflation forecasts

[WASHINGTON] St Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard said he is holding to his forecast of raising interest rates in the first quarter of next year, as jobs data and lower oil prices provide an added boost to a strengthening US economy.

Mr Bullard said he expects inflation to move toward the central bank's 2 per cent target in the second half of this year and to surpass the target next year.

"What I would worry about is if we have outsized declines in inflation beyond what can be accounted for by oil prices, in tandem with declining expectations," he said to reporters after prepared remarks here on Friday. Bullard added that inflation gauges have rebounded since mid-October, driven in part by strong US economic data.