Trump (Again) Expresses His Displeasure with Federal Reserve Raising Interest Rates

The rand firmed more than 1% in early trade on Tuesday, matching gains by its emerging market peers as criticism of Federal Reserve rate hikes by US President Donald Trump hurt the dollar and revived demand for some risk assets.

The central bank is created to be independent from political interference. "I'm not thrilled", the president, who himself appointed Powell to lead the central bank, told Reuters on Monday.

Stocks were set to open a touch lower at 07:00 GMT, with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange's Top-40 futures index down 0.1%.

"Of course the president respects the independence of the Fed", the White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told Business Insider at the time.

"Forgetting his comments, adding fiscal stimulus this late in the cycle is. unusual, and probably makes the job more complicated for the Fed", he said.

"What Trump is anxious about is that the Fed has, in my own words, growth phobia", Stephen Moore, a Republican economic commentator who advised Mr. Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, told the Wall Street Journal. Tim Scott last week, said he had not spoken to President Trump about interest rates and would remain independent from political interference, the Republican senator said.

Since Trump took office, the Fed has raised rates five times, including twice this year under Powell. That's the highest in 11 years. Seven out of 10 say fiscal policy - the federal government's approach to taxes and spending - is "too stimulative".

A day later, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan, who tends to align his views with those of Powell, released an essay that signaled he views another three or four rate hikes as "the best chance" for delivering continued economic growth, given the strength of the economy.

The president nominated Powell past year to replace former Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

"Am I happy with my choice?"

Asked by Reuters whether he believes in the independence of the Fed, the president said, "I believe in the Fed doing what's good for the country". "We do our work in a strictly nonpolitical way, based on detailed analysis, which we put on the record transparently". "You know, a lot of people beat up on the Fed".

Trump was displeased with Powell's decision to raise interest rates, according to Bloomberg.

Powell is expected to speak on Friday at an annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

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