Trump praises Treasury Secretary Mnuchin but hits Fed again on rate rises

Stock traders

According to news reports, Trump is angry about the interest rate hike ordered by the Fed last week and had been considering whether to fire Powell, although Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on the weekend that the Fed chief would remain in his post.

Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office after a Christmas video conference with US troops deployed overseas, Trump also said USA companies were "the greatest in the world" and presented a "tremendous" buying opportunity. "Very smart person", he said.

Trump's comments on Mnuchin followed the secretary's convening of an emergency meeting with top USA financial regulators on Monday, following a call with executives from six major banks the previous day. "They don't have a feel for the Market, they don't understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders".

US stocks edged up on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 .SPX up 0.2 percent in late morning trading. The S&P 500 has lost about 19.8 percent from its September 20 closing high, just shy of the 20 percent threshold that commonly defines a bear market.

In a move to quell market volatility, Mnuchin on Sunday convened individual calls to chief executive officers of six major US banks.

Investors said his move to convene a call with the president's Working Group on Financial Markets, known as the "Plunge Protection team", may have weighed on sentiment.

"We've all been doing that really quite a bit over the few weeks". They have record kinds of numbers. "I think the increasing of interest rates and the shrinking of the Fed portfolio is an absolute bad thing to do at this time".

Despite the recent stock market plunge, the U.S. economy is experiencing good numbers, overall, with unemployment at 3.7 per cent, the lowest in half a century, and inflation near the annual goal of 2 per cent.

Trump expressed displeasure with the Fed after Mnuchin tweeted that Powell's job was safe.

Trump shifted his criticism again to the Fed, saying it "raised the interest rates too fast, that's my opinion". But I think that they will get it pretty soon.

Trump blasted the Fed on Monday as the USA economy's "only problem", and investors have closely followed reports the president had privately discussed the possibility of firing Powell.

Mnuchin on Saturday denied that Trump planned to remove the Fed chairman, saying on Twitter that Trump told him in a conversation that he "never suggested firing" Powell.

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