January 8, 2019 / 2:00 PM / a month ago

Trump renews dig at Fed, expresses longing for lower interest rates

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he stands with Jerome Powell, his nominee to become chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Tuesday expressed longing for the lower interest rates that the Federal Reserve put in place during the 2007-09 recession, saying he could boost the economy if the central bank brought interest rates to zero.

“Economic numbers looking REALLY good. Can you imagine if I had long term ZERO interest rates to play with like the past administration, rather than the rapidly raised normalized rates we have today. That would have been SO EASY! Still, markets up BIG since 2016 Election!” Trump wrote in an early morning tweet.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Friday said he would not resign even if President Donald Trump asked him to do so, a clear assertion of the U.S. central bank’s independence in the face of Trump’s strident criticism of the Fed’s rate hikes.

Legal experts say it is not clear whether Trump could in fact dismiss Powell.

After the Fed’s decision in mid-December to raise rates for a fourth time in 2018, reports surfaced that Trump had discussed with his advisors the feasibility of firing Powell.

Trump in the final months of 2018 repeatedly attacked the Fed, blaming market volatility on the central bank’s steady and gradual interest-rate increases and calling it the “only problem” for the U.S. economy.

Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Writing by Nick Zieminski

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