IMF chief defends rate hikes after Donald Trump slams 'crazy' Fed

Ivan Schwartz
October 11, 2018

President Trump blamed the plummeting stock market Wednesday on Federal Reserve policy that has raised interest rates six times since he took office, most recently in September. "And I'd like our Fed not to be so aggressive because I think they're making a big mistake", Trump said in a Thursday morning interview on Fox & Friends. But he downplayed the first major drop in months, saying it was a "correction that we've been waiting for".

The broad USA stock market sell-off Wednesday took the S&P 500 to the lowest in three months, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged as much as 836 points and the Nasdaq 100 Index tumbled more than 4 percent for its worst day in seven years.

Last week's jump in yields followed strong U.S. data but many analysts have been anticipating dynamics in the bond market to change due to expectations that central banks in Europe and Japan will soon phase out bond-buying programmes.

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Trump has slapped tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods this year, and Beijing has retaliated with levies of $110 billion of American products.

He said he didn't think the current rate of U.S inflation merits higher borrowing costs.

During panel discussions at the International Monetary Fund's annual meetings in Bali, Indonesia on Thursday, South African Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago stressed the importance of central bank independence when he was asked whether Trump's comments demean the integrity of the institutions.

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Just two hours before, CNBC reported that an unnamed senior White House official told its correspondent that, "This is a bull market correction".

Federal Reserve officials also sounded relaxed with Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic and Charles Evans, the Chicago Fed president, on Wednesday down playing the economic effects of the market decline. The central bank has hiked interest rates three times this year and expects to do so again in December.

"The fundamentals and future of the U.S. economy remain incredibly strong", press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement after the close.

"He is an individual that really understands the plumbing of the US and global financial systems and one example is the reforms that are going underway on Libor for which he is one of the main sponsors", said Carney. "President Trump's economic policies are the reasons for these historic successes and they have created a solid base for continued growth". The problem I have is with the Fed.

Trump has said he likes low interest rates, in part because of his background in real estate.

Some of his former advisers said they believed Trump's criticisms of the central bank were warranted.

Other reports by GizPress

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