Trump claims Fed rate hikes hinder USA economy

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Trump claimed Friday on Twitter that Fed rate hikes would put the U.S.at a competitive disadvantage to China and the European Union, which he accused of manipulating their currencies and abusing trade laws.

Still, they break with the long-standing tradition of United States presidents withholding comments on Fed policy to preserve the central bank's independence from political pressure.

On Friday, the Axios news website reported that Kudlow had said Trump was "not going to let go" of the trade issue.

The Fed has raised interest rates seven times since December 2015 and has penciled in two more rate hikes for this year. It is also scaling back the support it is providing the economy by gradually reducing its holdings of Treasury and mortgage-backed bonds.

About $US505 billion ($680.3 billion) of Chinese goods were imported to the US in 2017, leading to a trade deficit of almost $US376 billion ($506.5 billion), US government data showed.

After criticizing the Fed in an interview, Trump again lambasted the central bank, saying "Tightening now hurts all that we have done".

Economists say the biggest risk to America's economic growth are Trump's own policies, especially his imposition of import tariffs on China and Europe as well as allies like Mexico and Canada.

When asked about the stock market possibly falling if the United States imposes duties on such a large amount of goods, Trump told CNBC: "If it does, it does".

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The Fed has hiked interest rates twice this year and could jack the rate up twice more before year's end.

During more than three hours of testimony before the House panel on Wednesday, Powell heard widespread criticism from both Democrats and Republicans about the adverse effects Trump's punitive tariffs were having on businesses and farmers in their districts.

Presidents have historically avoided criticizing the Fed, which is created to be independent from political interference.

The President acknowledge the unusual nature of his comments but pressed on, saying he has held the same viewpoint since being a private citizen. Trump came under fire for his lukewarm support during a news conference with Putin for the finding by US intelligence agencies that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 election. "The economy has been on its strongest footing in some time".

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Rentokil down 6.5p to 339.4p, Just Eat down 15p to 863p, EasyJet down 27p to 1,615p and Glencore down 5.1p to 311.65p. The Commerce Department's first estimate for second-quarter GDP is scheduled for release on Friday.

"I'm ready to go to 500", he told the CNBC network in an exclusive interview. But in the CNBC interview, the president said he was seeking to do only what's fair. But at the same time I'm letting them do what they feel is best, ' Trump said.

Trump tapped Powell, who had served as a governor at the US central bank, to serve at its helm following Janet Yellen.

Powell, the first non-economist to head the Fed in almost four decades, said his goal is to speak so that he can be understood not just by economists and Wall Street investors but also by the typical household.

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