'Ease and cut rate big': Trump pressures Fed to slash interest rates as coronavirus threat grows

Trump rally

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  • President Trump pressured Fed Chair Jerome Powell to slash US interest rates after Australia's central bank cut its rate to a record low of 0.5% on Tuesday.
  • "Should ease and cut rate big," Trump tweeted, adding that Powell has "called it wrong from day one."
  • Trump's criticism came hours before a call between G7 finance chiefs to discuss their coronavirus responses.
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President Donald Trump ramped up pressure on Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell to slash US interest rates in response to the growing coronavirus threat on Tuesday. He made the critique after Australia's central bank cut its official rate to a record low of 0.5%.

"Our Federal Reserve has us paying higher rates than many others, when we should be paying less," Trump tweeted. "Tough on our exporters and puts the USA at a competitive disadvantage. Must be the other way around. Should ease and cut rate big. Jerome Powell led Federal Reserve has called it wrong from day one. Sad!"
The president has repeatedly criticized Powell for not cutting rates fast enough. On Monday, he accused the central banker of being "slow to act," adding that other countries have been more aggressive in easing their monetary policy and the US "should be leading, not following!"

Trump fired off his latest tweets hours before an emergency call between G7 central bankers and finance ministers, including Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The officials are expected to discuss their planned fiscal and monetary responses to coronavirus, although Reuters reported they're unlikely to announce a unified policy.

Central bankers in the US, UK, Italy, Japan, and other countries have vowed to intervene as needed to protect their economies against coronavirus. The European Central Bank's president, Christine Lagarde, echoed their comments on Monday.

Coronavirus - which causes a disease named COVID-19 - has infected more than 89,000 people, killed at least 3,000, and spread to upwards of 69 countries. It has disrupted supply chains, eroded consumer demand, and forced businesses to close or reduce opening hours, fanning fears of a global economic slowdown. Indeed, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development recently estimated the disease could halve global growth to 1.5% this year.

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