President Donald Trump on Friday cited alleged currency manipulation by China and the European Union as a justification for not raising U.S. interest rates as he doubled down on his criticism of the Federal Reserve.
Trump’s assertions, made in a series of morning tweets, came a day after he broke with decades of traditional White House silence on Federal Reserve decisions, criticizing the nation’s independent central bank for raising interest rates during a television interview.
“China, the European Union and others have been manipulating their currencies and interest rates lower, while the U.S. is raising rates while the dollars gets stronger and stronger with each passing day – taking away our big competitive edge,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“As usual, not a level playing field,” he continued. “The United States should not be penalized because we are doing so well. Tightening now hurts all that we have done. The U.S. should be allowed to recapture what was lost due to illegal currency manipulation and BAD Trade Deals. Debt coming due & we are raising rates – Really?”
During an interview with CNBC recorded Thursday, Trump said Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell’s plan to continue gradually raising short-term rates was undermining the administration’s efforts to spur economic growth.
“I’m not thrilled,” the president told CNBC. “I am not happy about it . . . I don’t like all of this work that we’re putting into the economy and then I see rates going up.”
His allegations that China and the EU are manipulating currencies are at odds with a Treasury Department report released in April that did not name any country as a currency manipulator.
Since the Clinton administration, the nation’s chief executives have declined to comment on Fed actions, out of respect for the independence of the institution, and to avoid any hint of political influence over the nation’s money supply.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · John Wagner ·