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Trump says he 'wouldn't stop' if beleaguered Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell decides to quit 

File photo of Donald Trump and Jerome Powell. Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Washington, United States Aug 24, 2019, 09.30 AM (IST)

US President Donald Trump said Friday that he would not stand in the way of beleaguered Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell if he decided to quit. 

Asked if he wants Powell to resign, Trump told reporters, "If he did, I wouldn't stop him."

Trump suggested earlier Friday that he regarded Powell as a bigger "enemy" than China, with whom he has been waging a trade war.

China announced Friday new tariffs on $75 billion in US products and President Donald Trump lashed out with threats of further retaliation, meaning the trade uncertainty that Powell said is exacerbating the global slowdown is unlikely to go away soon.

Trump lost no time in criticizing Powell -- and swiping at Beijing.

In a furious flurry of tweets, Trump attacked the Fed's stewardship of the world's biggest economy and vowed a quick response to China.

"As usual, the Fed did NOTHING! It is incredible that they can 'speak' without knowing or asking what I am doing, which will be announced shortly. We have a very strong dollar and a very weak Fed," Trump tweeted after Powell's comments.

"My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powel or Chairman Xi?" Trump said, misspelling the Fed chief's name in an unprecedented attack on the independent central bank.

The Fed cut the benchmark interest rate last month for the first time in more than a decade, partly as insurance against the impact of trade uncertainties on the economy.

But in his hotly anticipated speech to an annual central banking conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Powell cautioned that the Fed has no "rulebook" for dealing with the trade war fallout.

"The three weeks since our July FOMC meeting have been eventful, beginning with the announcement of new tariffs on imports from China," he said.

"The global growth outlook has been deteriorating since the middle of last year. Trade policy uncertainty seems to be playing a role in the global slowdown and in weak manufacturing and capital spending in the United States."

While Powell said the US economy "is now in a favorable place," it faces "significant risks" and he again pledged that the Fed "will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion." 

However, he warned that there is no "settled rulebook for international trade ... no recent precedents to guide any policy response to the current situation."

Story highlights

Trump suggested earlier Friday that he regarded Powell as a bigger 'enemy' than China, with whom he has been waging a trade war.