Trump Slams Rate Increases By Independent Federal Reserve


Trump on Thursday criticized the Fed's series of rate increases, breaking with more than two decades of White House tradition of avoiding comments on monetary policy out of respect for the independence of the US central bank.

Still, President Trump voiced concern that the higher rates and a stronger dollar may put the United States at a disadvantage while Fed counterparts in the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank keep rates low, maintaining loose monetary policy.

The Washington Post says Trump broke with "longstanding practice" by criticizing the Fed, which presidents typically avoid doing "out of respect for the independence of the institution, and to avoid any hint of political influence over the nation's monetary supply".

The comments are all the more unusual given that Jerome Powell, the Fed chairman, was appointed by Mr Trump. The probability investors assigned to a Fed rate hike in September was little changed near 90 percent after the president's remarks, while the probability of a December hike was also holding near 65 percent, according to trading in federal funds futures.

"I'm not thrilled", Trump said in expressing frustration with the central bank in an interview to be broadcast in full Friday, the financial news network reported. Sure, non-presidents can and often do grouse about the Fed.

"I'm not thrilled, because we go up and every time you go up they want to raise rates again", Trump told CNBC.

"I don't really - I am not happy about it", he said. Chairman Jerome Powell has played down concerns about Trump's politicizing the Fed.

Hoping to keep a lid on inflation as the world's largest economy gathers pace, the Fed has raised its benchmark lending rate seven times since 2015 and expects two more rate hikes this year. Last week, Powell said in an interview with the radio program Marketplace that he didn't expect to face pressure from the White House. "But at the same time I'm letting them do what they feel is best", he added. Most notably, during the Bill Clinton administration, Robert Rubin, first as head of the National Economic Council and later as Treasury Secretary, was to refrain from pressuring the Fed on policy, a precedent that has been followed by the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Martin's successor, Arthur Burns, was a close ally of President Richard Nixon. US stock prices briefly pared losses after Trump's comments on interest rates. Eventually Burns relented, aiding Nixon but also helping to feed runaway inflation that dogged the US economy for almost a decade.



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