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Can Trump bend the Fed to his will?
23 August 2018, 01:37 | Vera Richards
US central bankers discussed raising interest rates soon to counter excessive economic strength but also examined how global trade disputes could batter businesses and households, minutes of the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting showed on Wednesday. "I'm not thrilled", the president, who himself appointed Powell to lead the central bank, told Reuters on Monday.
When asked if he believed in the Fed's independence, he refused to say yes, telling the reporter: "I believe in the Fed doing what's good for the country".
"During this period of time I should be given some help by the Fed". Further, they have a bigger reason to trade risk averse - the US President Trumpsaid yesterday night that the US would slap a 25 percent tariff on cards coming from the European Union.
The U.S. unemployment rate is now 3.9 percent, well below what the Fed deems full employment, and bank officials have gradually increased their rate hike forecasts through 2018. The Fed has raised rates twice this year.
Meanwhile, the chart above suggests that United States dollars is now trending lower, having fallen from a high of 96.60 on August 15 to its current level close to 94.72 against a basket of other major currencies. The president publicly questioned the interest-rate hikes in July.
"I'm very concerned, especially given this very divisive and highly politicised environment, that bringing the Fed into that environment could complicate the Fed's communications [to the public], its support in the Congress and among the American people", said Donald L Kohn, who spent 40 years at the Fed and retired as its vice chairman in 2010. Trump nominated Powell past year to replace former Fed Chair Janet Yellen.
"I am not happy about it".
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump looks on as Jerome Powell, his nominee to become chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, speaks at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 2, 2017. Powell may update his outlook when he gives a speech Friday on "Monetary Policy in a Changing Economy" at the Kansas City Fed's annual forum in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. "I'll let you know in seven years".
"We're going to do our business in a way that's strictly non-political, without taking political issues into consideration, and that carries out the mandate Congress has given us", he said.
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