Lukanyo Mnyanda Editor: Business Day

Donald Trump may have had a point. That’s not a statement one encounters every day, but it may well have been the case in the US president’s recent spat with the Federal Reserve over the direction of interest rates. We’ll probably never know if Trump’s attacks on Fed chair Jay Powell had anything to do with a subsequent change of tack that saw the latter promise last week that he will be patient in raising interest rates in 2019. It was rather suspicious that the change in emphasis came after the release of a jobs report showing a robust economy. In his comments, Powell indicated that the dovish tone was in response to a selloff in stock markets in December that was partly blamed on his previous stance that suggested a determination to raise interest rates at least twice in 2019. The suspicion that the Fed was being too aggressive spooked equity investors, pushing the main stock indexes to their worst December since the Great Depression, and capped the biggest annual drop since the ...

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