US Dollar Sinks as President Trump Hits Fed on Hikes


President Donald Trump has indicated that he's willing to hit every product imported from China with tariffs, sending US markets sliding before the opening bell Friday.

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

"I'm not doing this for politics, I'm doing this to do the right thing for our country. We have been ripped off by China for a long time", he said.

So far, the Trump administration has slapped tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods over what it describes the country's predatory practices.

"Tightening now hurts all that we have done", Trump tweeted.

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This was not the first time Trump departed from a long-standing practice by USA presidents of respecting the Federal Reserve's independence by refraining from commenting on interest rates or the value of the U.S. dollar, a custom he dismissed.

"I'm not thrilled", Trump said in expressing frustration with the central bank in an interview to be broadcast in full Friday, the financial news network reported.

For a second day, Trump criticized the Federal Reserve, breaking with a long-standing tradition at the White House in avoiding any influence, real or perceived, as to the actions of the nation's central bank.

Speaking about Fed policy in his interview with CNBC, Trump said he is "letting them do what they feel is best".

Shortly after taking office, Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which he said would steal millions of jobs from Americans, while the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed by Canada, Mexico, and the United States, is now being renegotiated.

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"China, the European Union and others have been manipulating their currencies and interest rates lower", Trump wrote on Twitter. "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".

'Of course the President respects the independence of the Fed.

Trump nominated current Fed Chair Powell, who had served as a governor on the board of the Fed, to serve at its helm after Janet Yellen's retirement in February.

The U.S. central bank has hiked rates twice this year and most experts expect two more increases by year's end.

On a softer note, Trump added, "I am not happy about it". S&P stock-index futures declined along with the Stoxx Europe 600 gauge after Trump's comments aired.

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Trump's criticism of the Fed departs from the norm of recent decades of respecting the central bank's independence. The Fed has been carefully and gradually raising rates over the past several years to keep inflation in check and to prevent the economy from overheating. "So somebody would say, "Maybe you shouldn't say that as a president"-I couldn't care less what they say because my views haven't changed".