President Donald Trump renewed his attack on the U.S. Federal Reserve Monday, urging the central bank to lower its benchmark interest rate in order to combat what he said was the devaluing of currencies by governments around the world.
Trump said he would restore tariffs on steel and aluminum imported into the United States from Brazil and Argentina, whom he accused of presiding over a "massive devaluation of their currencies". He also added the other nations were taking advantage of the strong U.S. dollar and devaluing their own currencies, making it "very hard for our manufactures and farmers to fairly export their goods".
Trump's comments on tariffs followed a Global Times of China article that suggested senior officials in Beijing are demanding the rollback of both existing and pending tariffs on China-made goods by the US in order to cement a so-called phase one agreement.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major global currencies, has risen 1.35% over the past year, but has fallen some 1.03% since late September as investors interpreted a dovish stance on interest rates from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, and factored in the impact of a 25 basis point reduction in the central bank's key lending rate in late October.
Last month, Trump invited Powell to a surprise meeting at the White House in which "everything was discussed", according to the President, just days after he attacked the Fed Chair during a speech to the Economic Club of New York in Manhattan.
Trump touted a litany of financial market achievements during his first two years in office during the address, adding they came about "despite a near-record number of rate increases and quantitative tightening by the Federal Reserve since I won the election."
"Remember, we are actively competing with nations who openly cut interest rates so that now many are actually getting paid when they pay off their loan - known as negative interest," he incorrectly explained. "Who ever heard of such a thing? Give me some of that. (Laughter.) Give me some of that money. I want some of that money. Our Federal Reserve doesn't let us do it."