President Trump continued his months long criticism of the Federal Reserve on Tuesday as the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) begins its two-day monetary policy meeting.
“I hope the people over at the Fed will read today’s Wall Street Journal Editorial before they make yet another mistake. Also, don’t let the market become any more illiquid than it already is. Stop with the 50 B’s. Feel the market, don’t just go by meaningless numbers,” Trump tweeted. “Good luck!”
The “50 B’s” appears to refer to the $50 billion worth of bond holdings that the Fed has been rolling off its balance sheet for over a year now. It’s part of a wider effort to wind down its balance sheet, which at one point swelled to $4.5 trillion amid multiple rounds of quantitative easing.
Like raising interest rates, shrinking the Fed’s balance sheet is a form of tighter monetary policy, which can slow the economy.
This is Trump’s second Fed-related tweet this week.
“It is incredible that with a very strong dollar and virtually no inflation, the outside world blowing up around us, Paris is burning and China way down, the Fed is even considering yet another interest rate hike,” Trump tweeted on Monday. “Take the Victory!”
The markets are pricing in a 71.5% chance of a rate hike announcement on Wednesday, according to CME futures data, when the Fed wraps up its last two-day meeting of the year. Last week, the probabilities stood north of 80%.
Ever since its June meeting, the Fed telegraphed a fourth rate hike for 2018 was likely (the other three occurring in March, June and September of 2018).
However, the wave of stock market volatility in recent months has led some market commentators and President Trump to urge the Fed to hold off on hiking rates in December for fear of doing more harm than good for the economy.
President Trump’s observations about the U.S. dollar and inflation aren’t wrong. The U.S. Dollar Index is up 5.8% so far this year and the latest reading of the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, the personal consumption expenditure price index, is up 1.8% year-over-year on a core basis as of October. That’s under the Fed’s inflation target is 2%. All of this suggests the Fed has room to keep monetary policy loose.