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On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Lawmakers demand answers from Mnuchin on tariffs | Fed chief lays out stakes of Trump trade war | Consumer prices rise at highest rate in six years | Feds to appeal AT&T merger ruling

On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Lawmakers demand answers from Mnuchin on tariffs | Fed chief lays out stakes of Trump trade war | Consumer prices rise at highest rate in six years | Feds to appeal AT&T merger ruling
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Happy Thursday and welcome back to On The Money, where we're wondering who else Sacha Baron Cohen was able to trick. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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Write us with tips, suggestions and news: slane@thehill.com, vneedham@thehill.com, njagoda@thehill.com and nelis@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @SylvanLane, @VickofTheHill, @NJagoda and @NivElis.

 

THE BIG DEAL--Lawmakers demand answers from Mnuchin on Trump tariffs: Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinMnuchin: ‘Premature to comment on sanctions’ against Saudi Arabia Trump official defends planned visit to Saudi Arabia On The Money: Mnuchin to attend anti-terror meeting in Saudi Arabia | Treasury releases guidance on 'opportunity zone' program | Maxine Waters gets company in new GOP line of attack MORE on Thursday drew fire from a bipartisan group of House lawmakers concerned with severe economic damage caused by trade battles with China and key U.S. allies.

Lawmakers warned Mnuchin that President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Gillum and DeSantis’s first debate GOP warns economy will tank if Dems win Gorbachev calls Trump's withdrawal from arms treaty 'a mistake' MORE's tariffs on steel, aluminum and Chinese goods -- coupled with the retaliations they spurred -- could cost businesses in their districts hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue.

Republicans and Democrats were largely united in voicing concern over the Trump administration's trade policy days after the president unveiled planned tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Mnuchin told the House Financial Services Committee that Trump was taking essential steps to curb Chinese trade violations and that the administration was paying close attention to the tariffs' impact on U.S. businesses.

But that did little to assuage the fears of lawmakers who pleaded with Mnuchin for clarity on the administration's goals and timeline for action.

"Not only do tariffs harm American consumers, they harm many American employers and American workers," said Rep. Jeb HensarlingThomas (Jeb) Jeb HensarlingOn The Money: Watt's accuser describes sexual harassment claims in stunning testimony | SEC sues Elon Musk for fraud | Mnuchin says GOP hasn’t lost messaging war on taxes Mel Watt's accuser describes sexual harassment claims in stunning testimony House panel invites Watt accuser to testify at Thursday hearing MORE (R-Texas), the panel's chairman. "I appreciate the words but I am concerned about the deeds." I take you to the contentious hearing right here.

 

 

 

 

ON TAP TOMORROW

LEADING THE DAY

Powell lays out stakes of Trump's trade war: Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell said Thursday that the central bank is "hearing a rising level of concern" from U.S. businesses about the impact of President Trump's tariffs.

Powell said in a radio interview with Marketplace that corporate leaders and analysts in contact with the Fed have become more alarmed about the potential harm Trump's trade policy could do to the economy.

The chairman added that while the economy would benefit if Trump's actions lead to lower tariffs and barriers for U.S. goods, a protracted trade war could create "very challenging" economic conditions.

Powell said that high tariffs "sustained for a long period of time" could "be a negative for our economy," but that "it's very hard to sit here today, and say which way that's going."

His comments come two days after Trump announced plans to impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods. Those tariffs would follow levies on $50 billion in Chinese exports that are already finalized or in the pipeline. I have more on Powell's comments and projections here.

On interest rates: Powell also insisted that no one in the White House, including President Trump, had put any pressure on him to keep interest rates low despite their public comments in favor of looser monetary policy. "Nothing has been said to me publicly or privately that gives me any concern about our independence," Powell said.

 

Consumer prices rise at highest annual rate since 2012: Consumer prices rose 2.9 percent in the year since June 2017, a six-year high, while hourly wages fell 0.2 percent in the same period, according to federal data released Thursday.

The consumer price index (CPI) rose almost three percent over the past year, the highest annual increase since February 2012, according to federal data. But hourly wage earnings adjusted for inflation decreased despite record-low unemployment and U.S. businesses struggling to fill thousands of jobs.

Economists have struggled to understand why wage growth has lagged while unemployment lingers near 4 percent and growth nears closer to 3 percent of GDP. Consumer prices are starting to rise at levels close to the Federal Reserve's target after years of meager increases.

The Fed is keeping a close eye on inflation as it proceeds with several planned interest rate hikes. The central bank is eager to prevent higher spending, tax cuts and the burgeoning trade war from driving prices to unsustainable highs.

 

MARKET CHECK: Reuters: "U.S. stocks climbed on Thursday as top technology names hit record highs and industrials rebounded, offsetting worries about a U.S.-China trade war.

"The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 225.45 points, or 0.91 percent, to 24,925.9, the S&P 500 gained 24.31 points, or 0.88 percent, to 2,798.33 and the Nasdaq Composite added 107.31 points, or 1.39 percent, to 7,823.92."

 

 

 

 

GOOD TO KNOW

 

ODDS AND ENDS

  • China tried to step up pressure on Washington in their growing tariff war Thursday by suggesting U.S. companies lobby American leaders, according to the AP.
  • Op-Ed: Former White House senior trade economist Christine McDaniel, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center, suggests three approaches for dealing with China's unfair trade practices.