Trump says he 'maybe' regrets making Powell Fed chairman

Are Trump's attacks setting up the Fed to take the fall for a slowdown ahead of reelection bid

President Trump shakes hands as he announces the nomination of Jerome H. Powell to be chairman of the Federal Reserve

Though critics have blamed Trump's comments for the sharp fall in U.S. stock markets, White House officials have dismissed them as a natural correction after long run of rising share prices.

The ongoing difficulty in filling open positions at all skill levels and in every region is delaying projects and pressuring firms to raise wages or benefits - or even employ robots to ramp up production - according to the Fed's latest "beige book" survey of the economy.

He described his push for growth as a competition with Obama's record, saying that increases under his Democratic predecessor were skewed because of low-interest rates.

And Clarida said that even with an unemployment rate at 3.7 per cent, its lowest in almost 50 years, and wages finally starting to move up, there remains "scope for the job market to strengthen further without generating inflationary pressures".

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"I'm just saying this: I'm very unhappy with the Fed because Obama had zero interest rates", Trump said during an interview with Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. As it stands, the Fed expects to hike again in December, and three more times next year. "I think the fed has gone insane".

Orrin Hatch, Republican chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, on Wednesday defended Powell, telling Bloomberg News, "I don't agree with everything they do but they are still pretty good people". Two of them - Kansas banking regulator Michelle Bowman and former Fed staffer Nellie Liang - are not known to have strong rate policy preferences, while a third, Carnegie Mellon University's Marvin Goodfriend, is widely considered a proponent of higher rates.

Increases in the federal funds rate have a ripple effect on the economy and the stock market.

In addition, investors and economists view lower interest rates as catalysts for growth. Analysts also point out that higher rates lead to a stronger Dollars, offsetting the effect of import tariffs.

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Stocks jumped on October 25, recovering from prior days' rout.

Speaking of the monetary policy, Clarida said he believed the Fed's monetary policy "remains accommodative". "They have a right to act the way they do", Hatch said.

In assessing current conditions, Clarida said growth broadly and with the job market in particular has surprised him.

That will serve as "a tailwind for the economy, not a headwind", in conjunction with lower taxes, he said. He feels there is insufficient evidence that inflation will return, and rate hikes are unnecessary at this stage. He made similar remarks to reporters on the White House lawn earlier in October and in an interview with Reuters back in August.

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He warned, however, that monetary policy operates with a lag, and with inflation presently near the 2 percent goal, it would be important to monitor inflation projections closely, he said.

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