(Reuters) - Now may be a good time to start normalizing U.S. monetary policy, Federal Reserve policymaker James Bullard said on Thursday.

In the text of comments delivered to an audience in Frankfurt, St. Louis Fed President Bullard said doing that would direct policy "so that it is set appropriately for an improving economy over the next two years."

He said that the U.S. economy had normalized, adding: "Even with some normalization, monetary policy will remain exceptionally accommodative."

Bullard is not a voting member on the Fed's policy setting committee this year, but does take part in regular policy deliberations. He has long called for the Fed to hike its key rate sooner rather than later.

Bullard said the recent decision by the U.S. central bank to remove a reference to being "patient" on rates from its policy statement made a return to 'standard' policy making possible.

"By removing 'patient', the ... (Federal Open Market Committee) can return to more standard monetary policy decision-making, under which an appropriate policy rate is decided at each meeting."

Nearly all Fed officials expect the Fed to raise rates sometime this year, but exactly when is a subject of debate.