Monday, 12 November, 2018

Trump escalates his attack on Fed: 'My biggest threat'

Screenshot  FOX Business Screenshot FOX Business
Lloyd Bates | 21 October, 2018, 02:09

Because it is unclear how long the US economy can sustain its current strength, the Federal Reserve should continue with its gradual interest rate hikes until it becomes undeniable that a change of course is necessary, an influential Fed governor said on Thursday.

While a standard Taylor Rule would recommend much higher interest rates than the Fed now envisions - a fact often used to criticize the relevance of policy rules in general - Bullard said that adjusting the rule for changes in the economy shows that current policy is on target.

But that hasn't stopped the president from repeatedly blasting his Fed chairman, and going so far as to blame rising interest rates for last week's deep market rout.

Former National Economic Council director Gary Cohn said on Thursday he doesn't think President Donald Trump should comment on independent agencies, after the President's repeated comments bashing the Federal Reserve.

"My biggest threat is the Fed, because the Fed is raising rates too fast", Trump told the Fox Business host Trish Regan.

Trump has waged a sustained campaign against the Fed, calling its interest-rate hikes "crazy" and "loco".

"The current level of the policy rate is about right", Bullard said of the USA central bank's current short term policy rate, which is set in a range of between 2.00 percent and 2.25 percent.

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In Tuesday's interview, though, Trump said of his other nominees for the Fed, "I put a couple of other people there I'm not so happy with too but for the most part I'm very happy with people".

Chairman Powell - who Trump nominated last year to take the place of Janet Yellen, who held the position for four years - has said policymakers are seeking to restore rates to "normal" levels after the 2008 financial crisis. "Let me use a nice term: he's being extremely conservative", he said on the Fox Business Network.

After last month's meeting, the Fed issued a forecast that predicted one more rate increase before year's end, three more in 2019 and a final one in in 2020.

The market has priced in another hike in December, with three more increases expected in 2019, which would take rates in the USA to a level slightly above neutral.

When asked if he thought the President should be weighing in on the agencies, he replied: "I don't think he should be making comments on any federal agency".

In remarks to the Economic Club of Memphis, Bullard pointed to a possible next chapter in the central bank's discussion: What to do if, as expected, the growth rush from recent tax cuts, increased government spending and other positive economic trends begins to fade.

"Our economy is strong", Powell said at a press conference following the September meeting.

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