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Economic adviser to Trump: Powell not in danger of being fired from Fed post

President Donald Trump's economic adviser Kevin Hassett (l) speaks with reporters at the White House on Dec. 26, 2018. EFE-EPA/ Erik S. Lesser

President Donald Trump’s economic adviser Kevin Hassett (l) speaks with reporters at the White House on Dec. 26, 2018. EFE-EPA/ Erik S. Lesser

EFE

Kevin Hassett, the key economic adviser to President Donald Trump , said Wednesday that Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is not in danger of being fired from that post after the president cast doubt on the recent decisions taken by the US central bank.

When asked by local news media about whether Powell’s job as Fed chairman was safe, Hassett responded: “Yes, of course. 100 percent yes.”

Despite that answer, reporters again asked whether that meant Powell’s job was safe, to which Hassett - who heads the US government’s Council of Economic Advisers - responded “Absolutely. That’s correct.”

On Tuesday, Trump had complained that the Fed is raising interest rates too quickly, this after a precipitous 650-plus point plunge in the Dow Jones Industrial Average in a shortened pre-holiday trading session on Monday.

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.

In recent months, Wall Street has shown signs of weakness and the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is the overall market’s main benchmark, has fallen by 12 percent since October.

In fact, Wall Street closed last Friday after its worst weak since the 2008 financial crisis.

In addition, some 25 percent of the US government has been shut down since midnight on Friday due to disagreement about approving funds to build Trump’s much-touted wall along the border with Mexico and the government could remain without much of its funding into 2019 because of the difficulty of reaching agreement among congressional Republicans, Democrats and Trump.

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


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