Trump says dollar too strong, swipes at Fed for raising rates

President Donald Trump said Saturday that the US dollar is too strong, and took a swipe at Federal Reserve Chairperson Jerome Powell as someone who “likes raising interest rates.”

The US economy is doing well in spite of the actions of the central bank, Trump said during a wide-ranging speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.

“I want a dollar that does great for our country, but not a dollar that’s so strong that it makes it prohibitive for us to do business with other nations and take their business,” Trump said.

He didn’t mention Powell by name, but referenced “a gentleman that likes raising interest rates in the Fed, we have a gentleman that loves quantitative tightening in the Fed, we have a gentlemen that likes a very strong dollar in the Fed.”

“Can you imagine if we left interest rates where they were, if we didn’t do quantitative tightening,” Trump said. “There’s no inflation,” he added.

Fed officials kept their target range for the federal funds rate on hold, at 2.25% to 2.5%, when they met in late January. They’ll gather again in Washington March 19-20, when most economists and investors expect they’ll again leave rates unchanged.

Powell this week repeated the Fed’s recent mantra of being “patient” on future rate moves. Trump in late 2018 repeatedly castigated Powell and the central bank for the series of rate increases made from record low levels achieved during the severe recession a decade ago.

“The only problem our economy has is the Fed,” Trump tweeted on Dec. 24. A few days before that, Bloomberg reported that Trump had discussed firing Powell, his pick to lead the Fed, out of frustration with the string of rate increases.

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