February 19, 2019

International Monetary Fund chief defends Powell after Trump says Fed has 'gone crazy'

13 October 2018, 11:34 | Joann Bryant

The stock market took a massive dive today – here’s how Trump explained what happened

Global stocks tumble after Trump 'crazy' Fed comment - The Jakarta Post

Trump himself later told reporters he would not try to oust Powell, Trump's handpicked successor to former Fed chair Janet Yellen, and a well-regarded insider in moderate Republican circles.

US President Donald Trump said that last night's stock market sell-off was in fact along-awaited "correction", and that the Federal Reserve, which has been raising US interest rates, had gone "crazy". Larger deficits mean the U.S. Treasury is issuing more bonds and bills to finance the shortfall, prompting investors to demand a higher interest rate in return. The criticism is also unusual given that Jerome Powell, the Fed chairman, was appointed by Mr...

Inside the central bank, however, officials see broader forces - including declining unemployment, inflation's return to normalcy and a fast-growing economy - pushing interest rates higher.

"No, I'm not going to fire him", Trump said. Presidents for more than two decades had avoided public comments on the Fed's interest-rate policies as a way of demonstrating respect for the institution's independence. Investors might, for example, question whether the Fed would feel free to keep raising rates, if it felt it necessary to control inflation.

After the central bank announced its third increase of the year in September - a quarter-point boost that raised the benchmark federal funds rate to a target range of 2 per cent to 2.25 per cent - Trump said he was "not happy" about it.

From its beginning, the Fed was created to insulate it from political pressures.

In previous years, financial markets have been doubtful that the Fed would follow through with its forecasts for rate increases. But for all his talk of how easy trade wars are to win, Trump has little to show for his efforts.

With the Fed slowly unwinding quantitative easing - as it should be doing, since the financial crisis is long past - it makes sense that long-term Treasury securities are breaking through their artificially low yield levels. That gave Carter an opening to make Paul Volcker the new Fed chairman, someone the Carter administration regarded as better equipped to combat high inflation. The central bank would need to raise rates at least again in December and next March to get there.

Moreover, Roberto Perli of Cornerstone Macro calculates that a big part of the higher rates is an increase in the "term premium". For one thing, it was yet another sign of more Fed hikes to come. So it's a great time to be a borrower, and a lousy time to be a saver because Fed policy is tightening at a slow and gradual rate.

Taiwan plunged almost six per cent, with Seoul down three per cent and Sydney and Singapore both falling two per cent.

"We had a constructive discussion around currency", Mnuchin said.

The breach of norms is not surprising for a real-estate-developer and reality-star-turned-president who has cheered as Wall Street has soared to new heights this year, hitting repeated records, and used that as proof his economic policies were working.

Part of the recent rout in USA stocks has been down to sharp falls in the so-called Faang companies - Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google. Rather, he has stressed that the central bank handles its job without regard to politics.

Trump has been a persistent critic of the Fed's interest rate policy. "I expressed my concerns about the weakness of the currency". He didn't say anything remotely like that, ' he said on CNBC.

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