During a meeting with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Monday, President Trump said he “protested” the U.S. central bank’s interest rate policy, which he considers too high compared to other developed countries.
“I protested fact that our Fed Rate is set too high relative to the interest rates of other competitor countries,” Trump wrote in a tweet late Monday night. “In fact, our rates should be lower than all others (we are the U.S.). Too strong a Dollar hurting manufacturers & growth!”
Powell met with Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the White House resident at the president’s request to discuss the economy, growth, employment and inflation, the Fed said in a statement.
“Chair Powell’s comments were consistent with his remarks at his congressional hearings last week,” the Fed said. “He did not discuss his expectations for monetary policy, except to stress that the path of policy will depend entirely on incoming information that bears on the outlook for the economy.”
Last week, while testifying before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, Powell reiterated what he said during the Fed’s two-day meeting in October: The current level of its benchmark interest rate will likely remain “appropriate,” despite persistent risks to the economic outlook. Those risks, he said, include slow global growth and the U.S.-China trade war.
“We see the current stance of monetary policy as likely to remain appropriate as long as incoming information about the economy remains broadly consistent with our outlook of moderate economic growth, a strong labor market, and inflation near our symmetric 2 percent objective,” he said in prepared remarks.
But Trump, who’s made the U.S. economy the lynchpin of his 2020 re-election campaign, has repeatedly pressured Fed officials to lower the interbank lending rate closer in line with other central banks, including Japan and the European Union, which have slashed interest rates into negative territory.
The Fed’s refusal to do so has angered the president, who frequently berates the Fed for raising interest rates too high, too quickly. Trump often claims the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite would be 25 percent higher if “the Federal Reserve worked with us.” And in mid-August, Trump questioned whether Powell or China President Xi Jinping was a bigger threat to the U.S.
At the end of October, the Fed cut rates by a quarter-percentage point for the third time this year to insulate the economy from the U.S.-China trade dispute and a global growth slowdown, but signaled that it will take a wait-and-see approach before moving rates again. Rates are currently at a range between 1.75 percent and 2 percent.
Almost 100 percent of traders are pricing in the chance of no rate cut during the Fed’s upcoming meeting on Dec. 11, according to the CME’s FedWatch tool.
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