In an interview with the Washington Post this week, US President Donald Trump blamed the recent stock market declines and General Motors' recent announcement of plant closures and layoffs on the Federal Reserve, criticizing Federal Reserve Chair Jerome "Jay" H. Powell, whom he nominated a year ago.
USA central bankers are trying to keep the world's largest economy on an even keel and inflation near their 2 per cent target amid a strong labour market that has driven unemployment to the lowest level since 1969. I'm not going to say it's so much Trump ー that Trump has been sending mean tweets about Chairman Powell. He said he wouldn't. Ordinarily, a member of the Fed's board, including the chairman, can not be removed from office by a sitting president other than for cause. The political chatter will center on what impact, if any, the presidential tweets have had on the Fed's apparent shift.
During the Obama administration, the federal interest rate was dropped to zero for a long period of time, but Powell began to hike the rate back toward where it was in the early 2000s. In his latest comments Tuesday, Trump blamed the Fed not only for the stock market's declines but also for General Motors' announcement this week of jobs cuts and plant closings. "Not even a little bit", Trump told the Washington Post.
Chairman Jerome Powell's recent observations have suggested that while the USA economy remains on firm footing it also faces an array of risks, including a slowing global economy.
USA stocks staged their strongest one-day rally in eight months after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said said interest rates are close to neutral. Not even a little bit.
Sterling, meanwhile, gained 0.6 percent after the Bank of England warned about the economic risks from Britain exiting the European Union without a deal. For one thing, such criticism could backfire.
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Reporting from the club in NY just as Powell's speech was wrapping up, Cheddar's Kristen Scholer said Powell avoided the subject of Trump altogether and fielded no questions about the President's ongoing criticism.
After slashing interest rates to near zero before the 2008-09 financial crisis, the Fed has been steadily raising them since the end of 2015 and it's expected to announce another increase in December. He has noted that the Fed has a dual mandate: To maximize employment and keep prices stable. Now he is saying we are close. The Fed is structured to be largely insulated from politics - and politicians largely have respected the organization and its officials in the past. He also described the Fed's cautious approach toward raising interest rates as akin to being in a room with furniture when the lights go out and then having to proceed carefully to avoid bumping into anything. But what's more likely is that the Fed will irritate the President further before it's done. The goal of higher interest rates is to slow the economy and prevent inflation.
And while no president has ever been anywhere as openly critical of the Fed as Trump, some have occasionally tried to exert pressure behind the scenes.
"My biggest threat is the Fed", he complained. Mr. Trump is not other presidents.
Should any of a number of outside shocks occur, such as an escalating trade war between the USA and major trading partners, a messy breakup between Britain and the European Union, or a crisis in emerging markets, "the resulting drop in asset prices might be particularly large, given that valuations appear elevated relative to historical levels".