Trump says 'not thrilled' about interest rate hikes

US Dollar Sinks as President Trump Hits Fed on Hikes

President Donald Trump on Thursday said he's "not thrilled" the US central bank under Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is continuing to raise interest rates, suggesting the Fed may be undercutting his efforts to grow the economy.

Trump argued the Fed's rate hikes went against "all of the work that goes into doing what we're doing".

The Fed has been set on a slow and steady path of interest rate hikes over the past two years, leading economists to wonder if the central bank could tamp down some of Trump's promised economic growth.

A Fed spokesman declined to comment on Mr Trump's remarks but referred a reporter to comments Powell made this month in public radio interview in which he said he was "not concerned" by any threat to central bank's independence.

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Fed officials, including Chairman Jerome Powell, have raised interest rates twice this year and have pointed to two more before the end of 2018. That episode ultimately triggered runaway inflation that took a decade to tame and required raising the Fed's policy rate above 15 percent - more than eight times the rate's current average.

In his remarks to CNBC, Trump called Powell "a very good man".

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Donald Trump said he was concerned about the potential impact on the USA economy and American corporate competitiveness from rising rates and a stronger dollar.

"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".

The U.S. dollar index.DXY cut its gains after Trump's comments, while yields on U.S. Treasury securities hit session lows.

The White House defended his remarks, saying, "Of course the President respects the independence of the Fed". US stock prices briefly pared losses after Trump's comments on interest rates. Subtracting inflation, the rate is slightly negative in real terms and still "accommodative" for growth and borrowing, as the Fed said in its June statement. In June, the nation's central bank raised rates for the seventh time since December 2015, in a move created to slowly cool the economy.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump was highly critical of the Fed and accused its policymakers of keeping rates at ultra-low levels to favor Democrats. Rubin argued for that policy to be maintained in a New York Times op-ed piece a year ago when the White House was mulling the choice of Yellen's successor. In emerging markets such as Turkey, the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has felt no such restraint. But the past three administrations under Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have refrained from publicly commenting on policy decisions.

"The Fed's reckless monetary policies will cause problems in the years to come", Trump tweeted in 2011.

The last known example of US presidential strong-arming came when George H.W. Bush was fighting for re-election.


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