Oil price hikes should be temporary, but if they were to push up longer-term inflation expectations, it would be an “unwelcome development,” Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta president Dennis Lockhart said on Thursday.

While the economy appeared to be gaining momentum in 2011, Lockhart said he was prepared to be “be pleasantly surprised to the upside” this year, though his statement was tempered by the ongoing unrest in the Middle East.

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