U.S. Markets closed

Trump Slams Fed, Says Shunning Negative Rates Hurts U.S.

Rich Miller
Trump Slams Fed, Says Shunning Negative Rates Hurts U.S.

(Bloomberg) -- Explore what’s moving the global economy in the new season of the Stephanomics podcast. Subscribe via Apple Podcast, Spotify or Pocket Cast.

President Donald Trump renewed his assault against the Federal Reserve, saying it was hurting the U.S. by not copying other central banks in deploying negative interest rates.

“We are actively competing with nations who openly cut interest rates, so now many actually getting paid when they pay off their loan, known as negative interest,” Trump told the Economic Club of New York Tuesday.

“Give me some of that money. I want some of that money. Our Federal Reserve doesn’t let us do it,” Trump said, drawing a laugh from the audience. “It puts us at a competitive disadvantage to other countries.”

The Fed cut interest rates last month for the third time this year to shield the economy from uncertainty over trade and weaker global growth, while signaling that policy is now on hold unless the outlook worsens. The Fed’s benchmark rate now lies in a target range of 1.5% to 1.75%, which is low by historic standards but higher than Japan and the euro zone, which have shifted to negative rates in an effort to lift moribund economies.

“We’re paying actually high interest. We should be paying by far the lowest interest,” Trump said. After noting the gains on U.S. stock markets during his presidency, he said they could have risen a further 25% “if we had a Fed that worked with us.”

Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow subsequently told CNBC television that he didn’t know whether Trump actually wants negative interest rates in the U.S.

“I don’t think the U.S. needs negative rates,” added Kudlow, who is director of the White House’s National Economic Council. “Our economy is in very good shape.”

The president has persistently sought to shift blame for slowing U.S. economic growth onto the Fed and away from his trade war with China, which some businesses say has prompted them to delay investment decisions. U.S. manufacturing has slumped but consumers remain resilient and employers continue to hire new workers at a solid pace.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will testify before Congress on Wednesday and Thursday.

(Adds Kudlow comments in sixth and seventh paragraphs.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Rich Miller in Washington at rmiller28@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Margaret Collins at mcollins45@bloomberg.net, Alister Bull, Ben Holland

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.