Trump Won’t Acknowledge the Independence of the Fed
23 August, 2018, 01:35 | Author: Martin Tyler
"Not thrilled" may become a regular state of mind for U.S. President Donald Trump in the months ahead, as the Federal Reserve is likely to press on with interest rate rises to recalibrate policy for an economy boosted by the president's own tax cuts.
President TrumpDonald John TrumpArizona GOP Senate candidate defends bus tour with far-right activist Alyssa Milano protests Kavanaugh in "Handmaid's Tale" costume Bomb in deadly Yemen school bus attack was manufactured by USA firm: report MORE on Monday ramped up his criticism of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and the central bank's interest rate hikes in an interview with Reuters.
Asked on Monday if he believed in the Fed's independence, Trump said: "I believe in the Fed doing what's good for the country".
Presidents normally avoid commenting on monetary policy out of respect for the Fed's independence, according to the publication. "I'm not thrilled", Trump said in an interview with Reuters.
The Fed declined to comment, but former Fed officials expressed alarm at Trump's repeated criticism.
Powell has described the economy as "strong" numerous times this summer, but he also sees this as an opportune time to lift interest rates back to normal levels after years at historic lows, a Fed effort to stimulate the economy in the aftermath of the financial crisis and Great Recession.
The U.S. dollar was trading lower against other major currencies following Trump's comments.
The Reserve Bank held its benchmark rate for a fifth meeting in a row in July but warned it was ready to tighten policy despite the weak economy in response to rising rand-driven inflationary pressures and offshore volatility.
"While raising interest rates may limit capital outflows and defend the rand, it could end up negatively impacting economic growth".
The president said that he was told by advisers that Powell liked "cheap money" before he chose him to run the Fed, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The president nominated Powell past year to replace former Fed Chair Janet Yellen.
"I'm very concerned, especially given this very divisive and highly politicised environment, that bringing the Fed into that environment could complicate the Fed's communications [to the public], its support in the Congress and among the American people", said Donald L Kohn, who spent 40 years at the Fed and retired as its vice chairman in 2010.
"Am I happy with my choice?" He took on the job earlier this year; his term expires in 2021.
"We're going to do our business in a way that's strictly non-political, without taking political issues into consideration, and that carries out the mandate Congress has given us", he said.
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