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Trump urges Fed to cut interest rates to boost U.S. economy

Christian Fernsby |
U.S. President Donald Trump said that the Federal Reserve (Fed) should lower interest rates and pursue "quantitative easing" policy in order to boost the U.S. economy.

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"I personally think the Fed should drop rates. I think they really slowed us down. There's no inflation," Trump told reporters as he departed the White House for California on Friday.

The president also suggested the central bank pursue quantitative easing, a strategy used in the aftermath of the financial crisis a decade ago which involved buying trillions of government bonds and mortgage-backed securities.

Trump has repeatedly criticized the Fed's rate increases last year, and has reportedly even discussed firing Fed Chairman Jerome Powell months ago. The Fed approved four interest rate hikes in 2018, continuing a move toward policy normalization that began in 2015.

In March, the Fed left interest rates unchanged after concluding a two-day policy meeting, and again pledged to be patient with future rate hikes. The Fed also said it intends to end the runoff of its balance sheet at the end of September.

The Fed began gradually shrinking its mortgage-backed securities and treasuries portfolio in October 2017 by allowing securities to mature without reinvesting proceeds, which was called "quantitative tightening." It has trimmed its balance sheet from 4.5 trillion U.S. dollars at its peak time to the current 4.1 trillion dollars.

According to data from the U.S. Commerce Department, the real gross domestic product expanded 2.9 percent in 2018, falling short of the Trump administration's 3-percent annual growth target.

In its latest economic projections released in March, the Fed cut its forecast of the U.S. economic growth in 2019 and 2020, expecting a rate of 2.1 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.

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