Trump has discussed firing Fed chairman Powell

Federal Reserve raises interest rates, signals fewer hikes ahead

Fed raises rates despite Trump attacks, stocks tank

President Donald Trump has privately asked cabinet members if he has the authority to fire Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell after interest rates were increased and the stock market plummeted, U.S. media reported Saturday.

While oversold markets could easily ignore news of the discussions and bounce before Christmas, "if he tries to fire Mr. Powell, it will be very negative", said Matt Maley, equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co. "The independence of the Fed is the foundation of our banking system".

Powell has met with Sherrod Brown - the ranking Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, which oversees the Fed - five times.

Senator Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, said Powell "has done nothing to warrant being dismissed".

"What the President fails to understand is that monetary policy should be separate from politics", Warner said in a statement.

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After news of the appointment, a video clip circulated of Mulvaney, at the time a congressman representing SC, bashing Trump days before the 2016 presidential election.

Republican Representative Dennis Ross of Florida said many of his GOP colleagues are already disturbed by Defense Secretary James Mattis's exit, and to now be anxious about Powell only aggravates their concerns. "Today we see a moderating trajectory".

"He put out a tweet last night specifically saying that he now realizes he does not have the ability, " Mulvaney said, at first mistakenly attributing the tweets directly to Trump, then correcting himself that they came via Mnuchin, who moved to reassure markets that Powell wouldn't be ousted. The independence of the Fed, and the freedom it has to make decisions regardless of politics, have always been critical factors supporting the US economy, economists said. The sell-off continued in the past week - the worst for the stock market since 2008 - after Powell signaled that the Fed did not have plans to sharply change course.

Fed angst was at the center of last week's market cyclone, in which the S&P 500 tumbled 7.1 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite Index became the biggest United States equity gauge to enter a bear market since the financial crisis.

It's unclear how much legal authority the president has to fire Powell. He has ranted publicly for weeks about the way Powell is leading the Fed, charting a course of slow but steady interest rate increases as a way to contain inflation.

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Giuliani said any decision on whether to remove Powell must take into account what the law allows, what impact such a move could have on markets, and the long-term value of having an independent central bank.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on concerns over the potential impact of computerized trading on market volatility, the Federal Reserve's interest rate hike strategy, the market reaction to the Fed and US trade negotiations with China.

On Tuesday, Trump warned the Fed not to make "yet another mistake" by raising interest rates, the second consecutive day he has gone after the central bank on Twitter. But investors' concerns over the chairman's comments led to USA equities to record their steepest declines for any Federal Open Market Committee announcement day since 2011.

In a press conference after the announcement, Powell said, "We saw a rising trajectory for growth in 2018".

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