Fed officials widely divided on rates at July meeting

Trump says Fed ‘biggest problem’ for US economy, calls Powell ‘golfer who can’t putt’

Federal Reserve policymakers divided over US rate cuts

The differences, in minutes released on Wednesday, come as Donald Trump presses for a one percentage point cut. But that cut wasn't enough to appease the USA president, who this week urged the Fed to slash the target range for its benchmark rate by a full percentage point. Also, Trump on Tuesday insisted the economy was doing well, denying warnings from some quarters-including top economists-that the United States was heading for a recession within two years.

In yet another Twitter screed, Trump said, "The only problem we have is Jay Powell and the Fed".

"I am expecting he will cautiously hint at another quarter point cut, but he doesn't have everyone on board", said Diane Swonk, chief economist at the accounting firm Grant Thornton.

His strongly worded remarks came hours before his government announced approval of an US$8 billion (RM33.36 billion) sale of Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, a move sure to draw Beijing's ire and further dim prospects for a quick trade deal.

However, Fed policymakers agreed at their July 30-31 meeting that they did not want to give the impression they were planning more rate cuts. But private economists are not so sure, believing the Fed may want to save some of its rate cut ammunition should the economy take a serious turn for the worse with the possibility of a recession.

Multiple rate cuts are exactly what Trump has demanded of Powell's Fed, publicly and vociferously, for months.

The two Fed officials who argued for a bigger rate cut "favoured a stronger action to better address the stubbornly low inflation rates of the past several years", the minutes said.

Investors are pricing in a 16 per cent chance of a 50 basis point cut to US Fed funds rate in September.

"If the Fed would do its job, you would see a burst of growth like you have never seen before", he told reporters Tuesday.

Federal Reserve officials who voted to lower interest rates at the end of July saw their decision as part of a policy recalibration in the face of a darkening economic outlook.

Because of these developments, investors have become convinced the central bank will follow up the July rate cut with further cuts at coming meetings.

"It would be nearly risky for him to signal more rate cuts are coming, given the fact that he has precious little ammunition left", Sohn said.

The U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates last month for the first time since the financial crisis, spurring a trend that saw central bankers in India, Thailand, the Philippines and New Zealand, among others, lower their key lending rate, in a sign that the global economy is slowing. "We're very far from recession".

"I don't think it matters anymore", said Robert Kelly, a former CEO of Bank of New York Mellon Corp., in a television interview with BNN Bloomberg when asked whether he's supportive of lower rates in Canada and the U.S.

Trump compared the US economy to Germany and other countries in Europe where interest rates are near zero or in negative territory.

"The Fed can't afford to be complacent", Bethune said.

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