Pity Jay Powell. The man who appointed him as chair of the US Federal Reserve wonders whether he is a bigger enemy of the US than China’s president, Xi Jinping. Donald Trump entered new territory by implying his country’s central bank was run by a traitor. Previously, Trump had described Powell as “clueless” and a man with a “horrendous lack of vision” who is like a “golfer who cannot putt”. Also he “maybe” regrets having picked him. 

Anyone would think Powell was trying to ruin Trump’s re-election prospects. In fact, most of Trump’s recent epithets came after the Fed had done what he wanted by cutting interest rates in late July. His tweet followed an otherwise anodyne speech in which Powell sounded a mildly dovish tone about the Fed’s likely trajectory. His offence, it appears, was to sound agnostic about how far the Fed should go to counteract the fallout from a trade war that is harming domestic growth. Though the Fed chair was too diplomatic to single out the escalating ...

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