Mnuchin: Trump respects Fed but likes low interest rates

Posted October 14, 2018

Still, while many investors might not concur with Dr. Trump's diagnosis, they might tend to agree with the underlying sentiment: US interest rate hikes are or are going to rain on the stock market's parade.

"That wasn't it", Trump said this week in response to the China theory for the market drop. "The Fed is going wild".

But, crucially, the higher long-term interest rates don't seem to be driven by expectations that inflation will soar higher.

Mr. Trump, asked by reporters in Pennsylvania if he's anxious about the sell-off, said he's not and launched into his frustrations with the Fed. "I just don't think it's necessary to go as fast".

The Nikkei index in Tokyo was down by 4.2 percent on Thursday afternoon, while in Hong Kong the index dropped 3.9 percent - its lowest mark in four years. "They're so tight. I think the Fed has gone insane".

From its beginning, the Fed was created to insulate it from political pressures.

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It's a huge positive the Federal Reserve is no longer propping up the economy with near-zero rates.

However, asked about Powell's future, Trump said, "I'm not going to fire him". "However, with the strength of the USA economy and core PCE, the Fed's favourite inflation metric, now in line with its 2% target, the Fed's decision to move away from the ultra-easy monetary policy that characterised the years following the financial crisis is arguably justified".

Unlike the hardliners on China in the White House such as Peter Navarro, Mnuchin is a free trader. "He knows the Fed is independent and he respects that". "He didn't say anything remotely like that". "The dollar is very strong, very powerful and it causes difficulty in doing business".

There are multiple ways that the Federal Reserve can manipulate the economy through interest rates. Now the Fed's own projections are consistent with the path of rate increases priced into markets.

"The current dip in confidence can be allayed were the Federal Reserve to signal it is easing off its quantitative tightening and rates rises", said Jasper Lawler, the head of research and education at London Capital Group, in a note on Thursday.

But as the economy began to post solid and consistent growth following the global financial crisis of 2008, and prices began to creep higher, the central bank was anxious to return to a more normal policy. The lower the discount rate, the less expensive it is for the bank to borrow, and therefore, the lower the rate will be when the bank loans out money for major purchases.

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"The president likes low interest rates". But as the campaign has continued, the attention of markets has increasingly turned to when the Fed would stop raising rates. This is not 1998 or 1999, when rates went up to slow the internet boom during the Clinton administration where eventually we had the worst stock crash in recent history.

He described the path of rate increases - most recently to a level of 2-2.25% - as "crazy", adding that the stock market reaction was the "correction that we've been waiting for".

How? When interest rates are rising, the US government has to pay more to borrow money. As the rates rose, there would be a drop-off in demand for loans.

In recent memory, no president has been so openly critical of the central bank. So, what it does, affects other large economies like Japan or Europe.

All of that is great news for Americans. The second day he criticizes the Federal reserve system, calling it a policy of "aggressive" and solutions are "crazy".

The stock market is just one thing. Should rates surge too much, they could trigger a recession as companies and consumers struggle to repay debt.

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