Aug 28, 2018

Steven Mnuchin defends Fed chair after Trump criticisms

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin praised Fed Chair Jerome Powell in an interview with CNBC: “I think he understands the issue of growth and he's carefully monitoring the growth numbers and the inflation numbers.”

Why it matters: Mnuchin’s comments contrast with those of President Trump, who said last week he was not “thrilled” with Powell and criticized the Fed for raising interest rates.

The full exchange:

Do you think we're already at neutral and would you persuade Chairman Powell not to raise rates anymore? Do you agree with the President in that respect?

Mnuchin:

"I think as you know, as Treasury Secretary, I respect the independence of the Fed. I meet with Jay Powell on a weekly basis. We talk about a lot of economic issues. It would be inappropriate for me to comment on interest rates in that position. But what I would say is I think Jay [Powell] has been a phenomenal leader at the Fed. I think he understands the issue of growth and he's carefully monitoring the growth numbers and the inflation numbers and we'll see. I, for one, am not at all concerned about the yield curve. I don't think that's a predictor of economic growth. I think it's a market condition. And for now, having a flat yield curve with us issuing long-term debt is something we're perfectly content with."

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Airline industry braces for a forever-changed world

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The airline industry got a $58 billion lifeline in the coronavirus federal aid package. But the path is unclear for these companies, whose operations and prospects will be forever changed by the global pandemic.

Why it matters: People may want to minimize travel for the foreseeable future. Investors, analysts and industry watchers are trying to determine how much airlines will need to spend — and how much more in lost revenue they'll see — while they adapt to the new reality.

Trump denies seeing Navarro memos warning about toll of coronavirus

President Trump said at a press briefing Tuesday that he "didn't see" memos from his trade adviser Peter Navarro warning in January and February that the coronavirus crisis could kill more than half a million Americans and cost close to $6 trillion.

Why it matters: Trump insisted that despite not seeing the memos, he did "more or less" what Navarro suggested by banning non-U.S. citizens from traveling from China effective Feb. 2.