Federal Reserve Aligns More With Trump; Rethinks Interest Rate Policy To Emphasize “Patience”
That Shifts Strategy Much Closer To What The President’s Been Demanding
We tend to believe the President’s almost continual browbeating of Fed Chair Jerome Powell had nothing to do with the Fed’s decision to shift its bias. And Powell very strongly contends Trump had nothing to do with it, saying:
“We’re always going to do what we think is the right thing, we’re never going to take political considerations into account or discuss them as part of our work. We’re human, we make mistakes, but we’re not going to make mistakes of character or integrity.”
Still, we are waiting for the inevitable — and probably self-congratulatory — Tweet from Trump in praise of the shift.
Anyway, the Fed chose not to raise interest rates any more right now, which was not a surprise. But Powell — who is more talkative than some previous Fed Chairs — also said:
“We believe we can best support the economy by being patient before making any future adjustment to policy. ”
And even though that’s said in an understated way, it’s a huge change. At the very least, the Fed had been expected to do a couple more small interest rate hikes this year.
While the stock market applauded the change with a big daily gain, it could, ironically, be a negative indicator. If the Fed sees no need to raise rates on the horizon, it almost certainly means it feels there’s no longer any danger of the economy growing so fast that it sparks inflation, which also probably means the U.S. economy is weaker than it originally thought, just a few months ago.