President Donald Trump once again criticized the Federal Reserve Monday morning in a pair of tweets arguing that a “small rate cut is not enough.”
Trump said the Fed had made “all the wrong moves” by hiking interest rates “way too early and way too much.”
….countries that know how to play the game against the U.S. That’s actually why the E.U. was formed….and for China, until now, the U.S. has been “easy pickens.” The Fed has made all of the wrong moves. A small rate cut is not enough, but we will win anyway!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2019
The Fed is widely expected to cut interest rates at the conclusion of its two-day monetary policy meeting this week. Market expectations indicate a 75 percent probability cuts its overnight target by one-quarter of a percentage point and a 25 percent chance that it cuts it by a half a percentage point.
If the Fed does cut interest rates, it will be the first cut since the Fed slashed interest rates all the way down to near zero during the financial crisis and recession. The Fed began raising interest rates in 2015 and raised them four times last year. The final two hikes were sharply criticized by the president and members of the Trump administration as going too far.
Facing an economic slowdown in Europe, European central bankers have indicated that they will likely begin a new round of quantitative easing asset purchases. The euro has weakened against the dollar, prompting accusations of currency manipulation from President Trump.
China too has sought to stimulate its economy in the face of slowing growth due to pressure from U.S. tariffs. It has allowed its currency, which it carefully controls through its central bank, to fall against the U.S. dollar.
When the U.S. dollar strengthens against foreign currencies, U.S. exports become relatively more expensive abroad and imports cheaper in the U.S. This can slow demand for products of U.S. manufacturers and service providers.
So we know the ECB is about to (September is the launch point) rocket into its next QE round plus more asset purchases, we know the Japanese have never disengaged from their perpetual QE policy and the FOMC will end (so we’ve been told) their balance sheet reduction policies in September too.
Trump has not only called on the Fed to cut its interest rate target but also to halt “quantitative tightening,” the runoff of its $3.9 trillion portfolio of bonds purchased through its quantitative easing program. One big question for the Fed this week will be whether it will continue to allow its portfolio to shrink or put the runoff on pause, reinvesting the proceeds from bonds as they mature.