Lukanyo Mnyanda Editor: Business Day

The last time Donald Trump tried to bully the Federal Reserve into doing his bidding on monetary policy, it seemed to work, and in the eyes of many the independence of the US central bank was compromised. Breaking with decades of precedent and what is now conventional practice in successful economies around the world, the US president inserted himself into the debate about the correct level of interest rates, blaming Fed chair Jerome Powell for a drop in stocks and calling the institution “out of control”. How much bearing these attacks and those from his surrogates, including an economist and TV commentator of questionable ability that he is apparently considering for nomination to the Fed’s board of governors, had on policy makers changing their tune and going dovish is still subject to debate. The majority view is that this is exaggerated and the main driver of the policy U-turn, from preparing the market for two interest-rate increases of 25 basis points each in 2019 to saying t...

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