Jul 20, 2018

Trump pulls the Federal Reserve into his trade war

President Trump swiped at the Federal Reserve while criticizing China and the European Union in tweets on Friday, complaining that currency manipulation is "taking away our big competitive edge. ... As usual, not a level playing field."

Data: Money.net; Chart: Axios Visuals

Why it matters: The trade war between the U.S. and other countries is shifting into a currency war. This is the second time this week Trump has roiled currency markets with comments about Fed policy. The dollar fell shortly after Trump's tweets.

  • Our thought bubble... Axios' Dan Primack says: "Trump pledged during the campaign to label China a currency manipulator but, once in office, chose against actually doing so. Probably because his own Treasury Department said it wasn't true."

Go deeper: The WSJ's Greg Ip on what Trump is missing with his Fed criticism.

  • "Mr. Trump is especially upset by the dollar’s rise, which threatens to widen the trade deficit which he badly wants to shrink. Yet the Fed is the secondary player here. The dollar is up against the euro because Mr. Trump’s tax cut is lifting U.S. growth above Europe’s."
  • "The bigger problem—for the president and the Fed—is optics. ... His schedules show that since becoming chairman, he has not met with Mr. Trump; given the arched eyebrows it’s sure to provoke, he’ll think twice before doing so now. And that’s a pity because there may be times, for example during a crisis, when for the good of the country he should."

Go deeper

Treasury Department drops China's currency manipulator designation

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jingping. Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images.

The Treasury Department announced Monday that China will no longer be designated as a currency manipulator, just two days before President Trump and Vice Premier Liu He are set to sign "phase one" of a long-awaited trade deal, CNBC reports.

Why it matters, per Axios' Felix Salmon: China never fit the textbook definition of being a currency manipulator. The decision to apply the label was a political one — as was the decision to remove it.

Go deeperArrowJan 13, 2020

The Fed plans to keep pumping cash

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The New York Fed added $83.1 billion in temporary liquidity to financial markets Thursday, and the U.S. central bank looks primed to keep pumping cash for at least the next few months.

Why it matters: The stock market's 30% gain in 2019 was in no small part backed by the Fed's decision to cut U.S. interest rates three times and inject more than $1 trillion of temporary financing into the repo market. It also added more than $400 billion to its balance sheet in the fourth quarter.

Go deeperArrowJan 10, 2020

The Fed opens its doors to fintechs

Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call

The Fed is extending invitations to financial technology companies (and other companies interested in fintech) for face-to-face conversations. The sessions are called "financial innovation office hours,” the central bank announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: This is a first for the Fed board, though the San Francisco regional bank has hosted similar events in the past.

Go deeperArrowDec 18, 2019