Trump takes swipe at Fed for raising interest rates too quickly

Mae Love
October 18, 2018

Every policymaker backed the Fed's September rate increase, according to the minutes of the Sept. 25-26 meeting, published Wednesday.

Trump has blamed the market's big sell-off on rising rates and has described the Fed as being "out of control".

U.S. President Donald Trump says the biggest menace to his administration is the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The discussion, revealed in minutes of the September 25-26 meeting released Wednesday, shows that a few participants believed that the Fed's key interest rate would need to "become modestly restrictive for a time" to guard against inflation climbing too high.

Still, a "couple" of participants said they would oppose this unless clear danger signs - an overheating economy and mounting inflation - were to arise.

So far this year, policymakers have already voted to hike short-term interest rates three times, and are poised to do so again in December, staying the course they laid out late last year.

This would move United States interest rates slightly above what policymakers say is "neutral" - that is, neither slowing nor speeding the economy - but some participants said the Fed may need to go even further than that.

Wall Street, which had struggled through much of the day, closed slightly lower, with stocks paring losses after the minutes' release.

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Treasury yields were little changed.

Trump said he doesn't speak with Chairman Jerome Powell because of the Fed's political independence but said.

"A few participants expected that policy would need to become modestly restrictive for a time", according to the minutes.

The central bank continues to have a bullish outlook on the USA economy, and praised "robust increases" in household income, the minutes show.

Furthermore, "some" at the meeting said that risks grew as the U.S. economy increasingly outpaces its rivals' more sluggish growth "because of the potential for further strengthening of the dollar".

Still, policymakers noted that the relative weakness of the global economy could create "potential for further strengthening of the USA dollar", a factor that could weigh on US exports.

The minutes did note concerns about the impact of Trump's get-tough trade policies, citing business contacts who expressed worries about lost markets and rising prices for steel and aluminum.

In minutes from last month's central bank rate-setting meeting, which unanimously agreed a third rise of the year, policymakers said further rate hikes "would most likely be consistent" with current economic indicators. "I'm anxious about the fact that they seem to like raising interest rates".

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