The Federal Reserve has no choice but to raise rates in defiance of President Donald Trump’s criticism of its monetary policy, an investment manager said Friday.
In an interview with CNBC at the White House on Thursday, Trump lamented Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s plan to raise interest rates in response to strong economic indicators for the U.S., such as increasing wages and record-low unemployment.
“I don’t necessarily agree with it, because he’s raising interest rates. I’m not thrilled, because we go up and every time we go up they want to raise rates again,” the president said, referring to the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) four-hike interest rate path for 2018, determined in the wake of positive economic data.
This is worrisome because it signals Trump’s desire to influence monetary policy and threatens the perception of the central bank’s independence, said Giles Keating, chairman of digital investment manager Werthstein Institute. Now more so than before, the Fed has to prove its agency to the markets.
“The Fed has to raise rates,” Keating told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe.” It might be different in the case of some financial disaster, he said — but short of that, “they can’t be seen to be responding to what the president says, so they have to go ahead.”