Officials: Fast growth to go on, Trump respects Fed


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

President Donald Trump’s top economic policy-makers insisted Sunday that the robust growth marked in the April-June quarter will maintain its pace and that he respects the Federal Reserve’s independence despite his condemnation of the central bank for raising interest rates.

“We as an administration absolutely support the independence of the Fed, and the president has made it clear that this is the Fed’s decision,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told “Fox News Sunday.” He said Trump’s critical statements “are really more just comments saying as interest rates are going up, it’s something that the president has a concern” about.

The Fed isn’t expected to announce a rate increase when its latest policy meeting ends Wednesday. But the central bank is widely anticipated to set the stage for tightening credit again in September for a third time this year and then to likely raise rates again by December. The Fed has raised rates twice this year in response to strong growth, low unemployment and a slight rise in inflation.

Trump has taken credit for that growth, and 10 days ago he criticized the recent rate increases, warning that they could slow the economy’s advance. Criticism of interest rate hikes by the Fed, which is politically independent from the White House and administration, is something no president has expressed publicly in more than two decades.

The rate increases are intended to prevent the economy from overheating or inflation from accelerating too sharply.

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