Is Trump Starting To Lean On The Fed Or Setting It Up?

  • Written by Zero Hedge
  • Published in Economics

Via Global Macro Monitor,

President Trump said in an interview with CNBC’s Joe Kernan yesterday morning he “does not agree”, is not “thrilled” or “happy” with the FOMC’s interest rate hikes.  The full interview and transcripts will be available tomorrow.

Click here for excerpt of interview

You Heard It Here First

Presidents never, or rarely, comment on monetary policy or currency market moves for that matter (ex, the hackneyed meme “a strong dollar is the best interest of the United States.”)

President Trump hit them all in this interview, from the Fed to the Euro and Chinese RMB (“dropping like a rock”).  It doesn’t surprise us.

Recall our March 21st post, The Biggest Risk At The Fed.

But this doesn’t concern us as much as the Fed’s independence.

“Just let it rip”

That is we are worried more about the freedom from White House pressure and interference in conducting monetary policy than getting a few bps wrong on the Fed Funds rate.   This is especially true and relevant given the strongman tendencies and  lack of respect for institutional norms of the current president.

Here is Larry Kudlow, the president’s new chief economic adviser:

“Just let it rip, for heaven’s sake,” Kudlow said of economic growth in the U.S., during a more than hour-long interview Wednesday on CNBC. “The market’s going to take care of itself. The whole story’s going to take care of itself. The Fed’s going to do what it has to do, but I hope they don’t overdo it.”  – CNN
– Global Macro Monitor,  March 21, 2018

We were assured by Fed insiders shortly after that post in March Chairman Jerome Powell was tough and we should not underestimate his independence.   He has thus far proven to be an extraordinarily competent Fed leader.

Moreover, the president seems to have appointed very competent and independent Board governors to fill the many vacancies on the FRB.

Nothing Here, Move On

Other than committing another faux pas by publicly criticizing the Fed - and it really wasn’t that critical - the president’s comments,  taken in isolation,  were relatively benign and does not pose a threat to central bank independence, in our opinion.

But the totality and cumulative mistakes of  amateur hour at the White House, from foreign to domestic economic policy, are slowly chipping away at the world’s confidence in the management of America, Inc..

What we fear most is the loss of confidence in the world reserve currency status of he U.S. dollar, which is slowly eroding.   There doesn’t currently seem to be a viable replacement, however.  We do live in a nonlinear world,  where technological advancements can rapidly change and turn sectors upside down overnight, so that could change in a heartbeat,

Just look at the rise of crypto and mobile payments in the past...

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