President Donald Trump renewed his complaints about Federal Reserve interest-rate increases, calling borrowing costs “rapidly raised” even though the central bank’s pace of hikes has been markedly slower than in previous decades.
The central bank cut interest rates to almost zero in December 2008. It held them there for a time spanning most of the Obama administration as the Fed supported a recovery from the worst financial crisis and recession since the Great Depression in which unemployment peaked at 10 percent.
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The Fed has raised interest rates by 2.25 percentage points since late 2015 as unemployment declined to below 4 percent. Many investors see the central bank as essentially finished with this tightening cycle. That compares with the mid-2000s, when the Fed increased the benchmark rate by 4.25 percentage points over two years.
While U.S. stocks are still up since Trump’s election in November 2016, they’ve plunged from a record reached in September. Trump has repeatedly complained about the Fed’s rate hikes and sought to pin blame for stocks’ decline on the Fed and Chairman Jerome Powell, whom Trump has discussed firing, Bloomberg reported last month. Powell said last week that he wouldn’t resign if Trump asked him to.