Fed's Lockhart says could taper faster if economy surprises

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve could consider pulling back on its bond-buying stimulus even earlier than expected if the U.S. economy grows more quickly than anticipated and the jobless rate falls rapidly, a top Fed official said on Thursday.

"I would be very open to considering then a faster reduction in purchases," Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Dennis Lockhart told reporters.

(Reporting by Pedro Nicolaci da Costa)