Two influential Federal Reserve policymakers on Friday reinforced Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s message that an interest rate hike is coming by year’s end.

Meanwhile one of the Fed’s most dovish policymakers appeared to soften his opposition to that timing, a subtle shift that could pave a smoother way to the Fed’s first rate hike in nearly a decade.

To be sure, New York Fed President William Dudley and Dennis Lockhart of the Atlanta Fed, speaking separately in New York, appeared doubtful they would have enough information in hand to lift rates by an Oct. 27-28 policy meeting, suggesting the Dec. 15-16 meeting is more likely. They also clearly left the door open to waiting until 2016 if it looks like the U.S. economy is threatened by a global slowdown.

“Based on my forecast, yes I am” expecting to raise rates this year, said Dudley, a close ally of Yellen who has a permanent vote on policy.

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