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The economy can 'turn down on a dime,' Cramer warns Fed chief Jerome Powell

Key Points
  • Jim Cramer warns Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell could hurt the booming economy if the Fed continues raising interest rates.
  • "The economy can turn down on a dime," Cramer says. "We saw it turn up on a dime, it's going down on a dime."
  • Cramer says central bankers should stop the hikes because the economy may not be as strong as it appears.
Jim Cramer
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

CNBC's Jim Cramer warned on Thursday that Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell could hurt the booming economy if the Fed continues to raise interest rates.

"The economy can turn down on a dime," Cramer said on "Squawk Box. " "We saw it turn up on a dime, it's going down on a dime."

Cramer, the host of "Mad Money, " has been critical of Powell in recent weeks, agreeing with President Donald Trump in arguing against further rate hikes.

The Fed has already hiked rates three times this year, and one more is expected in December. Earlier this month, Powell said rates are a long way from so-called neutral, a level neither accommodative nor restrictive to the economy.

U.S. stocks opened higher Thursday, rebounding from massive declines Wednesday, when the three major indexes dropped to their lowest closings in months: The S&P 500 and Nasdaq since May 3 and the Dow since July 6.

Cramer said Thursday that earnings aren't to blame for the market's recent downturn. He blamed the Fed as well as tariffs from the U.S.-China trade war. Late Wednesday, Cramer said said stocks are now starting to "build in the possibility" of profits being crimped by a worldwide slowdown.

"You can't have a sustained rally unless something changes in Washington," Cramer said Thursday. "Unless we resolve Washington, then all these great earnings are for naught."

But Cramer said Trump should "shut up" about Powell because the more the president criticizes, the more likely he would face resistance from the Fed chief in order to maintain the central bank's independence.

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