The economy may be surprisingly strong right now, with interest rates rising, but bankers should plan for lower rates by next spring, according to the latest American Banker yield and rate survey.

Only three of 10 economists in the survey said they expect the prime lending rate at the end of 1997's first quarter to be higher than the current 8.25%, while several say they feel it could be as much as half a point lower by next March 31.

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