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Trump takes on the Fed

| Posted by: Paul Donovan | Tags: Paul Donovan

  • US President Trump signalled unhappiness with Federal Reserve rate increases. This was in a TV interview, not a tweet, so it is not official administration policy. The decline of global inflation in the past quarter century was nothing to do with globalization, and nothing to do with technology. It was due mainly to central bank independence. Challenging independence is high risk.
  • The Fed, even when run by a lawyer rather than a properly qualified economist, is not likely to alter policy direction. The Fed should tighten because deficit-financed tax cuts at a time of strong growth are unnecessary and need to be offset. However, US President Trump's recent consumer tax increases may slow the economy and reduce the need for rapid rate rises. 
  • Japanese inflation was weaker than expected, again. Import data this week hinted at slowing demand. One of the strange problems Japan faces is that perceptions of inflation are a lot higher than reality, giving consumers the false idea of poor spending power.
  • Eurozone trade data is due – not especially economically significant, but increasingly politically significant. German producer price inflation will signal corporate pricing power, which may also be relevant in a time of rising trade tensions.