Trump says he may keep Yellen as Fed chair, prefers 'low-interest-rate policy'

Trump says he may keep Yellen as Fed chair, prefers 'low-interest-rate policy'
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President Trump told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that he may reappoint Janet Yellen to chair the Federal Reserve Board when her term ends in 2018, even though he thinks she should keep interest rates low.

Though Trump constantly criticized Yellen on the campaign trail, he said he met with her in the Oval Office and hasn't decided yet on replacing her when her term expires.

While Yellen's term as chair expires in 2018, she can remain on the Fed board until January 2024.

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“I like her. I respect her,” Trump said, “It’s very early.”

Trump claimed during his campaign that Yellen was “obviously political” and held interest rates near zero to make President Obama look good. The Fed has gradually raised rates over the past two years as the economy continues to recover from the 2008 recession.

“As soon as [rates] go up, your stock market is going to go way down, most likely,” Trump said. "Or possibly.”

Trump reversed his position on Wednesday, saying “I do like a low-interest-rate policy, I must be honest with you,” when asked about Yellen.

The Fed raised rates at its March meeting, setting a target range of 0.75 to 1 percent. Fed officials have long warned that the central bank must raise rates from historic lows, since keeping them low means little room to use interest rate cuts to stimulate business if the economy enters another crisis.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also told the Journal that Trump would soon announce a nominee for Fed vice chair of supervision, as well as for another seat reserved for community bankers.

Later in the interview, Trump reversed long-held positions that the Export-Import Bank should be defunded, and that China should be labeled as a currency manipulator.