U.S. econ­omy on the up and up?

The Province - - NEWS | WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON — U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s top eco­nomic pol­i­cy­mak­ers in­sisted that the ro­bust growth marked in the AprilJune quar­ter will main­tain its pace and that he re­spects the Fed­eral Re­serve’s in­de­pen­dence from the White House de­spite his con­dem­na­tion of the cen­tral bank for rais­ing in­ter­est rates.

“We as an ad­min­is­tra­tion ab­so­lutely sup­port the in­de­pen­dence of the Fed, and the pres­i­dent has made it clear that this is the Fed’s de­ci­sion,” Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven Mnuchin told Fox News Sun­day.

He said Trump’s crit­i­cal state­ments “are re­ally more just com­ments say­ing as in­ter­est rates are go­ing up, it’s some­thing that the pres­i­dent has a con­cern” about.

The Fed has raised rates twice this year in re­sponse to strong growth, low un­em­ploy­ment and a slight rise in in­fla­tion.

Trump has taken credit for that growth, and 10 days ago he crit­i­cized re­cent rate in­creases, warn­ing they could slow the econ­omy’s ad­vance.

Crit­i­cism of in­ter­est rate hikes by the Fed, which is po­lit­i­cally in­de­pen­dent from the White House and ad­min­is­tra­tion, is some­thing no pres­i­dent has ex­pressed pub­licly in two decades.

“I don’t like all of this work we are putting into the econ­omy, and then I see rates go­ing up,” Trump said in an in­ter­view with CNBC.

The rate in­creases are in­tended to pre­vent the econ­omy from over­heat­ing or in­fla­tion from ac­cel­er­at­ing too sharply.

But higher rates make bor­row­ing for homes, au­tos and credit cards more ex­pen­sive — an un­pop­u­lar con­se­quence for con­sumers.

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