President Donald Trump said it was “about time” the Federal Reserve acted like a “leader” and lowered interest rates, whether such a move was related to the coronavirus-driven stock market plunge or not.
“If you look at the Fed, it has a massive impact, lots of it is psychological and lots of it is fact,” Trump said at a White House press conference to discuss the administration’s response to the coronavirus.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Friday opened the door to a rate cut, citing the “evolving risks” posed to the U.S. economy from the virus.
“The fundamentals of the U.S. economy remain strong,” Powell said in the four-sentence statement. “However, the coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity. The Federal Reserve is closely monitoring developments and their implications for the economic outlook. We will use our tools and act as appropriate to support the economy.”
Trump has long pushed the central bank to lower rates.
“This is something I think they should’ve done even beyond this and before this,” Trump said, referring to the coronavirus scare. “We should have the lowest interest rates; we don’t have the lowest interest rates.”
The president praised negative interest rates in certain countries — although such drastic moves by the central banks of Switzerland, Japan and others have been made in an effort to stimulate stubbornly weak economic growth.
Trump also said he was confident in the U.S. stock market, after a week that saw the biggest loss in the S&P 500 index since 2008. The benchmark index is riding a streak of seven straight daily losses.
“The markets will all come back,” Trump said. “The markets are very strong.”
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