Trump says he doesn’t like Fed’s actions to continue rate hikes
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he does not like the Federal Reserve’s decision to continue to raise interest rates.
He also said that the United States economy does not have an inflation problem and that the central bank is moving too quickly in trying to curb price increases.
“I think we don’t have to go as fast,” the president answered to a question about the Fed raising rates by CNBC from the south lawn of the White House.
“I don’t want to slow it down even a little bit” when there are no signs of inflation, the president added, referring to the economy. Trump added that he has not spoken to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell about the central bank’s moves to raise rates.
The Fed hiked its benchmark interest rate a quarter point in September, and raised its expectations for economic growth for this year and next.
That drew criticism from Trump at the time, who said he was “worried about the fact that they seem to like raising interest rates, we can do other things with the money,” he said.
“This is not something he hasn’t said before,” Andrew Brenner of National Alliance said of the president’s comments on Tuesday. “What’s happening is the president is afraid that the higher rates are going to derail the stock market and he’s trying to implore the Fed to slow down.”
During a CNBC interview this summer, Trump said that he was “not thrilled” with the rate hikes and reportedly told donors at a fundraiser that Powell had not been the “cheap money” banker he hoped for.
The historically rare criticism by a sitting president was taken on Capitol Hill and Wall Street as an affront on the central bank’s independence from political pressure.
Interest rates have been on the rise over the past several weeks, with the benchmark 10-year Treasury note — a barometer for corporate debt and mortgages rates — climbing to its highest level in more than seven years.
Bond experts have pointed to robust economic data, signs of inflation and a glut of debt issuance as a reason for the rising rates.
Rates took their latest spike higher amid a report Friday which showed the lowest unemployment rate in 49 years, along with rising wages.
The report adds to the now-widespread view that the labor market is near or beyond full employment and shows wages are starting to accelerate higher. This could be a worry for Fed officials trying to keep a lid on inflation.
Following the central bank’s move to hike rates a third time this year, Fed Chair Powell said in an interview with PBS that U.S. monetary policy is “far from neutral,” suggesting front-end rates have further room to rise.
“Interest rates are still accommodative, but we’re gradually moving to a place where they will be neutral,” Powell said added. “We may go past neutral, but we’re a long way from neutral at this point, probably.”