Trump Blasts Fed, Says Market Should Be 5,000 to 10,000 Points Higher
President Donald Trump, a frequent critic of the Fed, renewed his attacks over the weekend, claiming the stock market would be 5,000 to 10,000 points higher if not for the U.S. central bank raising interest rates.
If the Fed had done its job properly, which it has not, the Stock Market would have been up 5000 to 10,000 additional points, and GDP would have been well over 4% instead of 3%…with almost no inflation. Quantitative tightening was a killer, should have done the exact opposite!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2019
“If the Fed had done its job properly, which it has not, the Stock Market would have been up 5000 to 10,000 additional points,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “Quantitative tightening was a killer, should have done the exact opposite!”
Trump’s venting comes as his latest picks to joint its board, Stephen Moore and Herman Caine, have come under intense scrutiny, with several Republicans coming forward to say they won’t vote to confirm Cain.
Cain is a former presidential candidate who bowed out of the race in 2012 after allegations of sexual misconduct. Moore has been blasted as “merely a propagandist” by Democrats.
The criticism also came a day after Fed Chair Jerome Powell told lawmakers at a Democratic Party retreat the central bank won’t bend to political pressure from Trump.
Powell succeeded Janet Yellen, but Trump has indicated he regrets that decision and has discussed firing him because he thinks the Fed’s raising of interest rates have slowed growth.
The rate hikes have slowed some segments of the economy, such as housing, but overall the U.S. economic expansion continues, along with the lowest unemployment in decades and inflation near the Fed’s 2 percent target.
Lately, Trump has urged the Fed to cut rates to turn the economy into a “rocket ship,” which White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said last week would be growth in the 4 to 4.5 percent range.
The Federal Reserve raised rates four times in 2018, but has since paused, saying it will be “patient” as it assesses the need for any additional changes in the policy rate, now in a target range of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent.
U.S. stocks have risen sharply this year after the Fed’s dovish pivot, reversing a late-2018 swoon. The benchmark S&P 500 Index closed Friday at 2,907.41, less than one percent below its record high close from September. U.S. central bankers in March signaled no rate moves in 2019, based on their outlook for solid if unspectacular economic growth with inflation near goal.
If Trump was referring to the more narrow Dow Jones Industrial Average, his tweet suggested the index could be over 36,000 points absent the Fed’s moves. The Dow closed on Friday at 26,412.30.
Defending the Fed
Prior to Trump’s tweeting, global policy makers had spent the weekend leaping to the defense of the Fed and other central banks facing pressure from politicians. At talks of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Saturday that he was “certainly worried about central bank independence” and especially “in the most important jurisdiction in the world.”
While many politicians want their central banks to juice growth by keeping monetary policy easy, the risk is the political meddling leaves investors worrying about a flare up of inflation and push up market interest rates in response, potentially hurting expansions.