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Exclusive: Trump says Fed shouldn't hike rates, but calls Powell 'a good man'

EconomyDec 12, 2018 05:18AM ET
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© Reuters. 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

By Roberta Rampton and Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Tuesday it would be a mistake if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates when it meets next week, as it is expected to do, continuing his criticism of the U.S. central bank.

"I think that would be foolish, but what can I say?" Trump told Reuters in an interview.

Trump said he needed the flexibility of lower interest rates to support the broader U.S. economy as he fights a growing trade battle against China, and potentially other countries.

"You have to understand, we're fighting some trade battles and we're winning. But I need accommodation too," he said.

Trump named Jerome Powell as Fed chairman, but has repeatedly railed against him since he took over as head of the U.S. central bank last February. Trump in August told Reuters that he was not "thrilled" with Powell's raising interest rates.

Trump was more conciliatory in his comments about Powell on Tuesday, but still criticized the policies of the man he chose for the top Fed job.

"I think he's a good man. I think he's trying to do what he thinks is best. I disagree with him," Trump said. "I think he's being too aggressive, far too aggressive, actually far too aggressive."

When asked whether he was concerned there might be a recession when he was running for re-election in 2020, Trump noted that other factors in the world could affect the economy, including Britain's plans to leave the European Union, known as Brexit, and the unrest in France.

"Well, you have problems in the world, like Brexit, like France - a big problem in France. It's shocking to see what's going on in Paris," Trump said, referring to anti-government protests that have targeted his French counterpart, President Emmanuel Macron.

Macron this week made major concessions to try and quell the protests that have rocked France, announcing wage increases for the poorest workers and a tax cut for most pensioners.

"Are we heading for a recession?" Trump said. "In my opinion, we are doing really well. Our companies are doing really well. If the Fed is going to act reasonably and rationally, I think we'll go - I think we are a rocket ship going up."

Exclusive: Trump says Fed shouldn't hike rates, but calls Powell 'a good man'
 

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Farooq Choksi
Farooq Choksi Dec 17, 2018 5:40PM ET
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I agree with Trump. Economy is healthy. we don't do anything on assumption. we always look GDP, retail sales, unemployment all economic indicators then we do something. If we do before looking economics indicator it's big mistake. It's called artificial change and create problems.
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Tom OKray
Tom OKray Dec 12, 2018 8:30AM ET
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Trump doesn't understand economics just his own agenda and ego, such a narcissist.
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Yadir Rodriguez
Yadir Rodriguez Dec 12, 2018 7:46AM ET
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Powell is raising rate like ‘rocket ship’
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Suman Jutur
Suman Jutur Dec 12, 2018 5:53AM ET
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Trump should stop interfering.
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Paul Tan
Paul Tan Dec 11, 2018 10:32PM ET
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Fed shouldn't hike rates as it would raise blood pressure of someone and could possibly cause a stroke.
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michael hammer
michael hammer Dec 11, 2018 9:50PM ET
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The photo needs to be captioned. "When ya boy is throwing shade n trying to undermine your economy by raising interests rates and decreasing the money supply."
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Safe Broker
Safe Broker Dec 11, 2018 9:50PM ET
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yes :)
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