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Trump slams US Fed after trade war comments

August 23, 2019

The president accused the central banker of being an "enemy" of the US, comparing him to Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Trump has been critical of the Federal Reserve not cutting interest rates faster or deeper.

Jerome Powell
Image: Reuters/S. Silbiger

US President Donald Trump on Friday lashed out at Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, also known as the Fed. Powell, a Trump appointee, had told a meeting of central bankers earlier in the day that the president's trade wars have complicated the Fed's ability to set interest rates and contributed to a global economic slowdown.

"Who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?" Trump wrote on Twitter, also referencing Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose government announced retaliatory tariffs on US goods on Friday.

Speaking at the conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Powell indicated but did not confirm that the Fed would further cut interest rates in the coming months.

He said that he believes the US economy will likely remain stable, but that Trump's trade policies had left it vulnerable. He added that the Fed would "act as appropriate" to sustain interest rate cuts announced last month, a remark financial experts have taken to mean that another cut will be forthcoming.

In July, the Fed reduced rates for the first time in decade, but the notes recently released from the meeting revealed a boardroom deeply divided over how much, when, and even if, the rates should be slashed.

Trump, seemingly incensed that Powell did not use his speech to announce a cut, accused him of doing nothing to help the country:

The tariffs announced by Beijing on Friday will affect some $75 billion (€67 billion) of American products, adding as much as an extra 10% on top of existing import duties.

es/aw (AP, Reuters)