Trump blames Fed rate hikes for hampering economic growth

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-03 17:36:16|Editor: zh
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WASHINGTON, March 2 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday reiterated his criticism of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy, saying that increased interest rates led to a strong dollar and impeded economic growth.

"We have a gentleman that likes raising interest rates in the Fed. We have a gentleman that loves quantitative tightening in the Fed. We have a gentleman that likes a very strong dollar in the Fed," Trump said at a Conservative Political Action Conference, referring to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell.

Trump said the U.S. economy is doing well, but the Fed's monetary policy has prevented it from doing better. "Can you imagine if we left interest rates where they were? There's no inflation, essentially. Can you imagine if we didn't do quantitative tightening?" he said.

"I want a strong dollar. But I want a dollar that's great for our country, not a dollar that's so strong that's prohibitive for us to be dealing with other nations and taking their business," Trump added.

The U.S. president has repeatedly exerted pressure on the Fed to hold off on rate hikes, saying that the monetary tightening impedes economic progress. Trump reportedly considered firing the central bank chief a few months ago.

Powell, meanwhile, has repeatedly emphasized the Fed's commitment to independence. He told the House Financial Services Committee in a hearing on Wednesday that the Fed would pursue its mandate "without concern for short-term political considerations."

Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, Powell said the Fed will be "taking a patient approach" with regard to future policy changes, cautioning about "some crosscurrents and conflicting signals" seen over the past few months.

He said policy decisions will continue to be "data dependent" and will take into account new information as economic conditions and the outlook evolve.

After raising interest rates for four times in 2018, the central bank left interest rates unchanged after concluding its policy meeting in January. The current target range for the federal funds rate is at 2.25 percent to 2.50 percent.