Trump doubles down on Fed criticism, warns rates are too high

President Trump reignited his attacks on the Federal Reserve on Tuesday morning, criticizing the U.S. central bank for raising interest rates too frequently in 2018.

“The Fed interest rate way too high, added to ridiculous quantitative tightening,” Trump wrote in a tweet on Tuesday. “They don’t have a clue!”

In a separate tweet, Trump called low inflation a “beautiful thing.” U.S. inflation picked up in April, but at 1.5 percent, remains well below the Fed’s preferred target of 2 percent.

Policymakers at the U.S. central bank voted to hike the benchmark federal funds rate four times in 2018, with the current range between 2.25 percent and 2.5 percent. But Fed Chairman Jerome Powell hinted during a speech last week that policymakers were willing to cut interest rates, depending on how global trade developments impact the U.S. economic outlook and whether inflation remains muted.

“As always, we will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion, with a strong labor market and inflation near our symmetric 2 percent objective,” he said.

The president renewed his Fed criticism on Monday during an interview with CNBC, when he blamed it for raising interest rates too quickly and giving China the upper hand in the year-long trade spat.

“They devalue their currency, they have for years: It’s put them at a tremendous competitive advantage. And we don’t have that advantage because we have a Fed that doesn’t lower interest rates,” Trump said.

Trump has frequently criticized the Fed -- and Jerome Powell, whom he nominated, -- for what he perceives as too-tight monetary policy. As recently as December, Trump reportedly suggested firing Powell after the Fed raised interest rates for the fourth time that year.


"So far, I’m not even a little bit happy with my selection of Jay," Trump said in November.