I’m ready to put tariffs on every import from China, Trump warns

Trump MAGA hat

Jae C. Hong AP Images

Trump told CNBC in an interview that ran on Friday that he is "ready to go to 500" on tariffs on Chinese imports.

"Now I'm just saying the same thing that I would have said as a private citizen", Trump said.

Trump said that raising American interest rates makes investment in China comparatively attractive, because China manipulates its currency by artificially devaluing it.

Wall Street Journal Global Economics Editor Jon Hilsenrath on President Trump calling out the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates too quickly.

The comment breaks with a long-standing tradition of United States presidents not commenting on central-bank policy.

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A growing divergence in monetary policy, with the USA central bank tightening faster than its peers, has boosted the appeal of US assets.

'I'm not thrilled, ' Trump told CNBC in an interview aired Thursday.

The president acknowledged that his comments about the Fed would likely raise concerns.

Trump's comments come in the wake of a growing rift between the two biggest economies. The dollar, which has strengthened more than 5 per cent since the middle of April, fell after Trump's remarks.

Even though he's frustrated, Trump said he's "letting them do what they feel is best".

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The dollar began taking a hit on Thursday after Trump suggested that the Fed's policy of raising U.S. interest rates was pushing up the dollar, in turn hurting American exporters.

"What I saw in that brief excerpt is a President who is going to drive his trade and tariff policy forward regardless of outside objections", Mr McKenna added.

Last month, the Fed raised its benchmark rate for a second time this year and projected two more increases in 2018. Most notably, during the Bill Clinton administration, Robert Rubin, first as head of the National Economic Council and later as Treasury Secretary, was to refrain from pressuring the Fed on policy, a precedent that has been followed by the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

In an address to Congress this week Fed Chair Jerome Powell repeated his view that rates would keep rising slowly now that the unemployment rate was at the lowest since the 1960s and consumer price inflation was 2.9% annually in June. Past presidents have also steered clear of commenting on US monetary policy out of respect for the Fed's independence so the path of borrowing costs doesn't move with the whims of politicians.

Trump nominated Powell as Fed chairman previous year to replace Janet Yellen.

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Interested in Donald Trump? "In fact, an argument can be made that the President's comments may skew the Committee in a hawkish direction: if a decision is a close call then the appearance of kowtowing to the President may bias them toward raising rates". There will be many "who see that as the Fed yielding to a combative president", Conti-Brown said.

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