Trump says 'not thrilled' about US interest rate hikes

20 July, 2018, 09:41 | Author: Regina Silva

In a stinging and historically rare criticism, President Donald Trump expressed frustration with the Federal Reserve and said the central bank could disrupt the economic recovery....

Mr Trump said increased rates had resulted in a stronger dollar which put the U.S. at a disadvantage compared with places where central banks are holding interest rates steady.

Most developed-world central banks are given a degree of independence from governments so monetary policy doesn't succumb to the whims of politicians. Powell was a governor on the Fed and has largely followed the path the Fed has been on for years, slowly raising interest rates as the economy strengthens, unemployment declines and inflation stirs. "Because we go up and every time you go up they want to raise rates again".

Speaking about Fed policy in his interview with CNBC, Trump said he is "letting them do what they feel is best".

Trump also said Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, whom he nominated, is "a very good man".

President Trump looks on as his nominee for Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome Powell, takes to the podium at the White House on November 2.

The Fed last month raised its policy rate for a second time this year and projected two more increases in 2018.

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A number of factors, including inflation and higher interest rates, could soon counteract the fiscal stimulus, however, and economists say the risk of recession in the coming years is growing.

"They're not doing what we're doing", Trump remarked, "and we already have somewhat of a disadvantage, although I'm turning that into an advantage".

It's always been speculated that the taboo of commenting on US monetary policy could change under Trump, who slammed the Fed during his election campaign and has demonstrated repeatedly his willingness to flout the conventions and sensibilities of establishment Washington.

"The Fed has often faced political pressures - from Congress, presidents, Treasury secretaries and innumerable outside groups", said Kroszner, an economics professor at the University of Chicago.

Former Dallas Fed president Richard Fisher told CNBC that Trump was off course.

"So somebody would say, 'Oh, maybe you shouldn't say that as president.' I couldn't care less what they say because my views haven't changed", he told CNBC.

This is not the first time Trump has targeted the Fed.

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