‘As usual, Jay Powell … slow to act’

President Donald Trump increased pressure on the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates, tweeting Monday that the U.S. central bank is falling behind its global peers.

“As usual, Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve are slow to act. Germany and others are pumping money into their economies. Other Central Banks are much more aggressive,” Trump said, referring to the Fed chairman.

“The U.S. should have, for all of the right reasons, the lowest Rate. We don’t, putting us at a … competitive disadvantage. We should be leading, not following!” he added.

The tweets were one of many efforts the president has made to push the Fed to ease its policy, though he often points out that he believes in its independence.

Markets widely expect the Fed to cut interest rates before its March 17-18 meeting. Traders currently are pricing in a 50 basis point cut this month followed by another 50 basis points before the end of the year in response to economic pressure from the novel coronavirus spread.

In a statement Friday, Powell said the central bank “is closely monitoring” the coronavirus outbreak and pledged to “use our tools and act as appropriate to support the economy.”

Former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh, who occasionally has been mentioned as a possible successor to Powell, told CNBC on Friday that the Fed should cut rates as part of a coordinated move with other global central banks.

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