HONG KONG — The Federal Reserve could bring forward the timing of the first rate hike of the cycle from late 2014 if recent data suggesting an improvement in the U.S. economy continues, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis president James Bullard said Friday.

Bullard, who is not a voting member of the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee, told reporters at a briefing here that the first hike could come in late 2013, while acknowledging the committee’s end-of-2014 timeframe.

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