A top member of the Federal Reserve said Wednesday that the case for the central bank to raise rates at its upcoming December meeting is now "compelling."

"Absent information that drastically changes the economic picture and outlook, I feel the case for liftoff is compelling," Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said in a speech delivered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Lockhart's comments are likely to help cement expectations that the Fed will finally raise short-term interest rates from zero in December, after months of deliberations on whether and how to scale back its financial crisis-era stimulus programs.

Lockhart said the upcoming meeting had the chance to be "historic," noting that it has been nearly 10 years since the Fed last raised rates. It's been seven years since the central bank lowered its interest rate target to zero in an attempt to counteract the recession.

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