Published: Fri, July 20, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

President Trump says he's ‘not happy' with interest rate hikes


"I'm not thrilled", Mr Trump told CNBC in an interview excerpt aired Thursday.

Still, President Trump voiced concern that the higher rates and a stronger dollar may put the USA at a disadvantage while Fed counterparts in the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank keep rates low, maintaining loose monetary policy.

Fed officials, including Chairman Jerome Powell, have raised interest rates twice this year and have pointed to two more before the end of 2018.

The rare rebuke was likely to stir a backlash, as it broke with the long-established practice of the executive branch not commenting on the Federal Reserve's decisions out of respect for its independence.

"I'm not thrilled, because we go up and every time you go up they want to raise rates again", Trump told CNBC.

He pointed out that China and the European Union continued to grow and enjoy a lower currency, suggesting it was giving them an economic advantage.

"I don't really - I am not happy about it", Trump said in excerpts released by the network.

Trump nominated Powell as Fed chairman a year ago to replace Janet Yellen.

His remarks to CNBC weren't the first time that Trump has departed from a long-standing practice of USA presidents steering clear of commenting on Fed policy and the value of the dollar.

The Fed is slowly raising its base interest rate as the U.S. pulls away from the financial crisis and its economy heats up on... "Now I'm just saying the same thing that I would have said as a private citizen", he said.

His remarks to CNBC were not the first time that Trump has departed from a long-standing practice of US presidents steering clear of commenting on Fed policy and the value of the dollar.

Mr Trump said he was unconcerned that his remarks might spark criticism as he was merely stating long-held personal views.

Indeed, overall financial conditions in the USA are largely unchanged since Trump took office in January 2017 despite the Fed's gradual tightening campaign, and looser than they were on average in 2016, according to a Goldman Sachs index.

The comments raised the specter of President Richard Nixon's pressure on the Fed in the 1970s, which led to economically damaging stagflation. "Even if the remaining nominee were a 'like-minded low interest rate guy, ' that person would be but one out of a Committee of 12".

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