Trump says 'not thrilled' about interest rate hikes

Trump says 'not thrilled' about interest rate hikes

The U.S. Government put a 15% tariff on US$34 billion of Chinese goods in mid-June, to which China retaliated with duties of its own, hitting U.S. imports of fruit including cherries, citrus and apples.

Beijing is targeting sectors, like agriculture, that could harm Trump politically at home, though he said in the CNBC interview that he is seeking to do only what is fair.

"Look, I'm not doing this for politics", Trump said during the interview broadcast on CNBC's "Squawk Box" that was recorded Thursday.

Trump has also pledged to narrow the US' trade deficit with China. China has responded in kind with tariffs on farm products, notably soybeans, as well as quintessential American goods such as bourbon and motorcycles, taking direct aim at Trump's base of support in farm states and blue collar regions of the country. The U.S. dollar fell to 112.46 yen from 112.84 yen earlier, and yields on Treasurys dipped slightly.

His remarks anxious investors already grappling with the impact of a strengthening dollar on corporate results, and key stock indexes on Wall Street dropped at the open on Friday.

Trade discussions aimed at defusing tensions between the USA and China have stalled, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the US would only be willing to get back to the table if China agrees to deepen structural changes to its economy.

President Donald Trump made it clear that, if necessary, he is ready to slap tariffs on all imports from China.

President Trump meets Queen Elizabeth for tea
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"We think the devaluation is on goal", Carl Weinberg, chief global economist at High Frequency Economics, wrote in a client note regarding China's latest currency change.

In an apparent reference to Fed rate increases, Mr Trump added, "Tightening now hurts all that we have done".

The White House also attempted to assuage fears of the president pressuring the Fed immediately after Trump's comments were released. "As he said he considers the Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell a very good man and that he is not interfering with Fed policy decisions".

Trump also showed displeasure about the Fed´s monetary tightening, saying that he was anxious about its potential impact on the US economy and American competitiveness. "Debt coming due & we are raising rates - Really?" In June, the nation's central bank raised rates for the seventh time since December 2015, in a move created to slowly cool the economy.

The central bank's job is to keep prices stable, including raising interest rates to prevent the economy from overheating and inflation from rising. Low interest rates reduce the costs of borrowing money and fuel economic expansion, but risk spurring rampant inflation and financial market bubbles.

Last month, the Fed raised its benchmark rate for a second time this year and projected two more increases in 2018.

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