Trump says GDP would have topped 4% if Fed had halted rate hikes sooner

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U.S. economic growth would be much stronger had the Federal Reserve stopped raising rates sooner, President Donald Trump said in an interview that aired Friday.

“If we didn’t have somebody raising interest rates and do quantitative tightening we would have been over 4 [percent] instead of at 3.1 [percent]” in terms of economic growth, Trump told Fox Business. “The world is slowing, but we’re not slowing.”

Trump’s comments come after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates steady on Wednesday and lowered its outlook on rate hikes for 2019 to zero. The Fed also downgraded its economic outlook for 2019. This has been a significant pivot for the central bank in a matter of months.

Trump was critical of the Fed for raising rates four times last year. In October, he called the central bank “crazy” for tightening monetary policy at that rate.

The U.S. economy expanded by 2.9 percent in 2018, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and by 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. On a fourth-quarter-over-fourth-quarter basis, GDP was 3.1 percent for 2018.

A CNBC survey found the U.S. economy is expected to grow by just 2.3 percent in 2019.

“I hope I didn’t influence them, frankly,” Trump told Fox Business. “But it doesn’t matter, I don’t care if I influenced them or not. One thing is, I was right. We would have been over 4 [percent] if they didn’t do all the interest rate hikes.”

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