WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump sought on Tuesday to further ratchet up pressure on the US Federal Reserve, calling on the central bank to avoid making “yet another mistake” by raising interest rates for the fourth time this year.
“I hope the people over at the Fed will read today’s Wall Street Journal Editorial before they make yet another mistake,” Trump said on Twitter.
“Also, don’t let the market become any more illiquid than it already is,” he wrote. “Feel the market, don’t just go by meaningless numbers. Good luck!”
Trump tweeted hours before the Fed’s policymaking body, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), was to start its final two-day meeting of the year.
In an editorial, “Time for a Fed Pause,” The Wall Street Journal said that “inflation and other economic signals justify interest-rate caution.”
The Fed’s benchmark interest rate is now in the range of 2 percent-2.25 percent and the FOMC is expected to announce another quarter-point increase at the end of this week’s session.
Trump has repeatedly complained that the gradual tightening of monetary policy implemented by the Fed under chair Jerome Powell poses a threat to economic growth.
The president’s criticism breaks with a tradition of insulating the Fed from White House pressure and has caused concern among traders and market analysts.
Powell, who was appointed by Trump, has avoided responding to the president’s comments, limiting himself to saying that the strong state of the US economy warrants a gradual increase in rates.
Since October, however, the New York Stock Exchange’s Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen 12 percent.
The central bank will announce its next steps at the end of the FOMC meeting on Wednesday.