Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell met with President Donald Trump at his request to discuss the economy, but the Fed on Monday said Powell gave no hints or promises about what the central bank will do next.
Trump has repeatedly and harshly criticized the Fed and Powell for not cutting interest rates fast enough when the economy weakened earlier this year, but he called the face-to-face meeting “good & cordial,” in a tweet.
It was the first time the two men have met since Trump in July unleashed an unprecedented volley of criticism by a president toward a Fed chairman.
“At the President’s invitation, Chair Powell met with the President and the Treasury Secretary Monday morning at the White House to discuss the economy, growth, employment and inflation,” the Fed said in a statement.
“Chair Powell’s comments were consistent with his remarks at his congressional hearings last week,’ The Fed went on. “He did not discuss his expectations for monetary policy, except to stress that the path of policy will depend entirely on incoming information that bears on the outlook for the economy.”
Economists said the meeting likely didn’t amount to much.
Others view the meeting as a good thing — an effort to clear the air.
In congressional testimony last week, Powell said interest rates are likely to remain steady unless the economy suffers further deterioration. The central bank has cut a key short-term interest rate three times this year, lowering borrowing costs for businesses and consumers.
The reduction in interest rates appears to have helped stabilize the economy and lifted the stock market
to fresh record highs. Yet a rebound in growth is unlikely to be robust until the U.S. and China resolve a trade dispute that’s harmed the global economy.
Trump has continued to bash the Fed despite the series of rate cuts, questioning why U.S. interest are higher than in other major economies such as Germany. He’s referred to the Fed chairman as “clueless Jay Powell” and said he’s like “a golfer who can’t put.”
Powell has refused to be drawn into a war of words with the president, saying he’ll do what he thinks is right and that he won’t step down.