AUCKLAND (Reuters) - Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans said on Tuesday he would be "fine" with raising U.S. interest rates by year end if U.S. economic data continued to come in firm, though any further moves would need to see inflation moving higher.

Speaking to reporters after a speech in New Zealand, Evans said any hike would likely come at the Fed's December policy meeting, though he would not rule out a move as early as the November meeting.

Evans emphasized that the timing of the next hike was less important than how tightening was conducted beyond that, and he would want to see inflation actually moving up and unemployment falling further.

(Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)