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Trump takes on Fed: ‘Not thrilled’ with interest rate hikes

July 19, 2018

President Trump took a pot shot Thursday at the Federal Reserve for eyeing another interest rate hike that could slow America’s strong economic growth.

“I’m not thrilled,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with CNBC, taking the rare step for a president of criticize the independent central bank that sets interest rates.

“Because we go up and every time you go up they want to raise rates again. I don’t really I am not happy about it. But at the same time I’m letting them do what they feel is best,” he said. “But I don’t like all of this work that goes into doing what we’re doing.”

The CNBC interview will air in its entirety Friday but the network released excerpts Thursday.

The president also praised Fed Chairman Jerome Powell as “a very good man.”

“Now I’m just saying the same thing that I would have said as a private citizen,” said Mr. Trump. “So somebody would say, ’Oh, maybe you shouldn’t say that as president. I couldn’t care less what they say, because my views haven’t changed.”

The Fed raised interest rates twice this year and Mr. Powell said two more increases are likely before the end of 2018.

Mr. Powell argues that the economy is strong enough to handle higher rates after the rates were kept artificially low to help the recovery from the Great Recession of 2007.

“With a strong job market, inflation close to our objective, and the risks to the outlook roughly balanced, the FOMC believes that for now the best way forward is to keep gradually raising the federal funds rate,” Mr. Powell told the Senate Banking Committee this week.

Mr. Trump’s economic policies, including the biggest tax cut in U.S. history, have fueled a strong economic expansion and record low unemployment.

He wants the growth to continue and worried that interest rate hikes will rein in investments.

In the interview, he raised the concern that higher interest rates would put the U.S. at a “disadvantage,” while the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan keep their rates low.

“I don’t like all of this work that we’re putting into the economy and then I see rates going up,” he said.

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