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Lockhart says spending will remain muted

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., April 4 (UPI) -- Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said Monday consumer spending would likely remain muted as the economy finds a new equilibrium.

In a speech at the International Economic Forum of the Americas in West Palm Beach, Fla., Lockhart said the economy was going through a "Great Rebalancing," which included increased consumer spending, but spending that was growing at a slower pace "relative to income" than it was before the recession.

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"The savings rate has hovered around 6 percent for many months now, more than triple the level that prevailed" in the years preceding the recession, he said. At this point, "I expect that this more measured consumption behavior is likely to persist," he added.

Lockhart said the "Great Rebalancing" also included fiscal re-balancing.

"The public sector in the United States must stabilize its finances and reverse the accumulation of debt that has accelerated in recent years. This process of public sector deleveraging -- an element of fiscal rebalancing -- is mostly ahead of us," he said.

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