Trump says economy would be much stronger if Fed stopped rate hikes sooner

Trump says economy would be much stronger if Fed stopped rate hikes sooner
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report DOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Nadler accuses Barr of 'unprecedented steps' to 'spin' Mueller report MORE on Friday hit the Federal Reserve, saying the economy would be much stronger if the central bank had stopped raising interest rates sooner.

“If we didn't have somebody raising interest rates and do quantitative tightening we would have been over 4 [percent] instead of at 3.1 [percent]” in terms of economic growth, Trump told Fox Business in an interview that aired Friday. “The world is slowing, but we're not slowing.”

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The comments come after the Fed announced Wednesday it will not raise interest rates for the second consecutive month and lowered its outlook on rate hikes to zero for the year.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters that the bank has a “positive” outlook for the U.S. economy, but consistently low inflation and international economic sluggishness necessitate patience with further rate adjustments. 

“Patient means that we see no need to rush to judgment,” Powell said. “It may be some time before the outlook for jobs and inflation calls for adjustments to policy.”

Trump has repeatedly hit Powell and the Fed for raising interest rates, which it did four times in 2018.

“No, I think the Fed is making a mistake. They’re so tight,” Trump said in October over a string of planned interest rate increases. “I think the Fed has gone crazy. So you can say that, ‘Well that’s a lot of safety actually.' And it is a lot of safety, and it gives you a lot of margin. But I think the Fed has gone crazy.” 

The U.S. economy grew by 2.9 percent in 2018, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and by 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.

“I hope I didn't influence them, frankly,” Trump told Fox Business. “But it doesn’t matter, I don’t care if I influenced them or not. One thing is, I was right. We would have been over 4 [percent] if they didn’t do all the interest rate hikes.”