WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump advised the Federal Reserve (Fed) not to raise interest rates at its meeting this week, given the strength of the dollar and an almost total absence of inflation.
“It is incredible that with a very strong dollar and virtually no inflation, the outside world blowing up around us, Paris is burning and China way down, the Fed is even considering yet another interest rate hike,” Trump said on Twitter.
“Take the Victory!” he added.
The president was back attacking the US central bank the day before its last meeting on monetary policy of the year, after which it is expected to raise interest rates a quarter of a percent from its current range of between 2 and 2.25 percent.
Trump has repeatedly blasted the gradual increase in interest rates pursued by the Fed, led by Chairman Jerome Powell, as a threat to US economic growth.
The president’s criticism of the central bank goes against the traditional respect for the independence of monetary policy from the White House.
For his part, Powell, who was appointed by Trump, has avoided answering the president and has held that the good economic times the country is enjoying, with an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent, the lowest in almost half a century, and inflation close to the annual goal of 2 percent, recommend a progressive hike in interest rates.
The Fed will issue a monetary policy statement following its two-day meeting this Wednesday, Dec. 19, at 2:00 pm (1900 GMT), and soon afterwards Powell will comment on the decision to a press conference at 2:30 pm (1930 GMT).