November 28, 2018 / 12:40 PM / in 17 days

Treasury's Mnuchin asks bond dealers about Fed policy: Bloomberg

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks during his interview with Reuters in Jerusalem October 21, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

(Reuters) - Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin privately asked bond dealers and investors whether they want the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary policy by raising interest rates, or by reducing its balance sheet faster, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing six people familiar with the matter.

Mnuchin raised the question with a Treasury advisory committee in an Oct. 30 meeting, which included representatives from top banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), Bloomberg reported.

The panel members were split in their response, the Bloomberg report said.

In recent months, Republican President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized Fed chief Jerome Powell and the Fed’s interest rate increases, saying that the central bank was making it more expensive for his administration to finance escalating U.S. deficits. Trump has called the Fed “crazy” and “ridiculous.”

The Federal Reserve had outlined a plan to reduce its $4.5 trillion portfolio, which contains mostly mortgage and Treasury securities, in October last year, and has already shed about $250 billion since then.

A total of $395 billion in bonds are expected to exit the Fed’s balance sheet in 2018 and another $470 billion in 2019, a TD Securities analyst said.

The Federal Reserve was not immediately available for a comment, while the U.S. Department of Treasury did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reporting By Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel

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