Trump lashes out at Fed again amid stock market plunge

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Washington, Dec 25 (IANS) US President Donald Trump on Monday lashed out at the Federal Reserve again amid continued stock market plunge and recent rumours that he was considering firing the central bank chief.

“The only problem our economy has is the Fed,” Trump tweeted on Monday morning, reports Xinhua news agency.

“They don’t have a feel for the Market, they don’t understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders.” he wrote.

“The Fed is like a powerful golfer who can’t score because he has no touch — he can’t putt!” he added.

The president renewed his Fed criticism as US stocks plunged again on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average erasing more than 650 points, or 2.9 per cent, at the close. The Standard and Poor’s 500 index closed 2.7 per cent lower and the Nasdaq slid 2.2 per cent.

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US media reported over the weekend that the president was weighing the option of ousting Fed Chairman Jerome Powell because of his intensifying frustration with the continued rate hikes and the stock market losses over the past months, which Trump has blamed the Fed for.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Saturday denied the rumour in a tweet, saying that Trump told him in a conversation that he “never suggested firing” Powell. “Nor do I believe I have the right to do so,” he quoted Trump as saying.

Mnuchin, however, noted that the president said, “I totally disagree with Fed policy.”

In a tweet on Tuesday before the Fed policy meeting, Trump warned the central bank not to “make yet another mistake” by further hiking interest rates. “Feel the market, don’t just go by meaningless numbers,” he said.

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When asked about how he perceived the market, Powell on Wednesday told a press conference that Fed officials would look for “material changes” in financial conditions as market volatility doesn’t necessarily result in major economic impact.

The US president has repeatedly exerted pressure on the Fed to hold off on rate hikes, saying that the monetary tightening will impede economic progress.

In an earlier report, CNBC called Trump’s Fed criticism “nearly without precedent” in US history, noting that almost all of Trump’s predecessors “steered clear of” Fed critiques to make sure that interest rates were set to work best for the economy.

The Fed on Wednesday raised benchmark interest rate, the fourth hike this year and the ninth since late 2015, as the US central bank moves forward on the path of monetary policy normalisation.

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–IANS

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