Trump ‘Not Thrilled’ With Fed Rate Hikes: ‘It Puts Us at a Disadvantage’

July 19, 2018

President Donald Trump on Thursday said the Federal Reserve is hampering the economic recovery by raising interest rates.

Trump said he was only expressing his opinion as a private citizen by criticizing the move to raise interest rates. Still, he was clear on his belief that the move by Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, would put the U.S. at a disadvantage.

"I’m not thrilled," he told CNBC's Joe Kernen. "Because we go up and every time you go up they want to raise rates again, and 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."

With the economy growing at a healthy rate, Powell has said the time is right to normalize interest rates, which have been at historic lows as the economy has recovered. He did not give CNBC any comment on Trump's interview.

The president also said the European Union is "making money easy" and China is manipulating its currency.

"You look at the euro, you look at what's going on with the E.U., they're not doing what we're doing and we already have somewhat of a disadvantage, although I'm turning that into an advantage," Trump said. "We've been losing $150 billion with the E.U. nations, with the European Union, and they're making money easy and their currency is falling. And China, their currency is dropping like a rock and our currency is going up and I have to tell you, it puts us at a disadvantage."

Markets reacted to Trump's comments, with stocks, the dollar and Treasury yields all falling.

Because it is longstanding policy for the Fed to be independent, presidents in the past have been hesitant to comment on its decisions. Trump emphasized that he is merely reiterating what he said before taking office and will let Powell continue to exercise his authority.

"I'm just saying the same thing that I would have said as a private citizen," Trump said. "So somebody would say, ‘Maybe you shouldn't say that as a president’–I couldn't care less what they say because my views haven't changed."