Trump breaks long-standing precedent of American presidents not commenting on the Fed, says he isn't 'thrilled' about rate hikes

  • President Donald Trump told CNBC he wasn’t “thrilled” with the Federal Reserve raising interest rates.
  • The comment breaks with a long-standing tradition of US presidents not commenting on central-bank policy.
  • The US dollar index slipped after Trump’s comments were published.

President Donald Trump told CNBC he was “not thrilled” about the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate hikes, breaking with the long-standing precedent of American presidents not commenting on Fed policy out of respect for the central bank’s independence from political influence.

“Because we go up and every time you go up they want to raise rates again,” Trump told CNBC in an interview set to air in full Friday. “I don’t really – I am not happy about it. But at the same time I’m letting them do what they feel is best.”

The Federal Reserve in June raised its benchmark rate by 25 basis points to a range between 1.75% and 2%. It was the seventh rate hike since the depths of the financial crisis. The central bank is expected to hike two more times this year.

A White House spokeswoman, Lindsay Walters, told Business Insider that Trump respected the independence of the Fed.

“As he said, he considers the Federal Reserve Board chair, Jerome Powell, a very good man and that he is not interfering with Fed policy decisions,” Walters said Thursday. “The president’s views on interest rates are well known, and his comments today are a reiteration of those long-held positions, and public comments.”

The Federal Reserve did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Weeks earlier, the top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox Business Network he hoped the Fed would raise interest rates “very slowly.”

“My hope is that the Fed under its new management understands that more people working and faster economic growth do not cause inflation – do not cause inflation,” Kudlow said.

The greenback was down 0.1% on the US dollar index, which measures the currency against a basket of peers. It fell more than 0.5% following the president’s comments.

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