Trump widens Fed critique, calls it 'my biggest threat'

Screenshot  FOX Business

Critics have expressed concern that his continual attacks on the Fed, which began in the summer, threaten its need to operate free of political pressure from the White House or elsewhere to properly manage interest rate policy.

Trump told Reuters in August he was "not thrilled" with Fed Chair Jerome Powell for raising interest rates, and has since escalated his criticism, this week saying the central bank is his "biggest threat", and last week calling the Fed "crazy", "loco", "ridiculous", and "too cute".

At its meeting on September 25 to September 26, the Fed also said it will raise rates in December, possibly three more times in 2019 and at least once in 2020. Central bank officials were unified in voting last month to boost rates by a quarter point, the Fed's account of its September policy meeting shows.

Trump's criticisms mark a departure from the practices of his recent predecessors. This week Trump said he was happy with Powell but not with a couple other Fed appointments; one of those is Quarles who may use the occasion to push back.

U.S. stock markets, which had largely expected a "steady as you go" statement, moved slightly higher but remained loss-making after the update, which stressed a continuation of the Fed's "gradual" approach to rate rise policy. "Obviously, presidents can speak out if they choose to and give their opinions about policy".

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Trump was more specific Tuesday in his critique, pointing to low inflation numbers. At that point, the policy rate would be at 3.4 percent, according to the median of Fed officials' individual forecasts.

Others said that, to avoid creating asset bubbles or having inflation run above the Fed's two-percent target for too long, the central bank would have to raise rates 'above their assessments of its longer-run level'.

"The man has a point", Neil Dutta, an economist at Renaissance Macro Research LLC in NY, wrote in a note to clients after Trump's remarks were made public.

On the other hand, while risks were 'roughly balanced, ' some Fed members said instability in emerging economies - many of which are heavily indebted and vulnerable when United States rates rise - could 'spread more broadly through the global economy and financial markets'.

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