Trump Says Fed `Would Be Foolish' to Raise Rates This Month

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump urged the Federal Reserve not to proceed with an expected interest-rate increase when it meets next week, continuing his public campaign against further rate hikes.

“I think that would be foolish, but what can I say?,” Trump said in an interview with Reuters at the White House on Tuesday.

Trump has criticized Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in tweets and public comments for months, accusing the central bank of undermining the economy’s growth by hiking interest rates. U.S. presidents have typically refrained from encroaching on the independence of the Fed.

Fed officials are to gather Dec. 18-19 in Washington to decide whether to raise rates again, with investors seeing about a 70 percent chance they’ll do so.

Trump told Reuters he needed the flexibility of lower interest rates to support the broader U.S. economy as he fights a growing trade battle against China, and potentially other countries.

"You have to understand, we’re fighting some trade battles and we’re winning. But I need accommodation too," he said.

Federal Reserve officials signaled a shift toward a more cautious stance on further interest-rate increases next year, even as they reaffirmed plans for a rate hike in December, according to minutes of a Nov. 7-8 meeting.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.