January 2, 2019 / 5:58 PM / a month ago

December's stock market fall a 'glitch': Trump

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday played down the stock market’s drop at the end of 2018, calling it a “glitch” and saying the market will again go up once various trade deals are settled.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a signing ceremony for H.R. 2, the "Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018" in Washington, U.S., December 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Young

Trump, who has repeatedly posted messages on Twitter extolling stock market gains, said the Federal Reserve should help keep markets stable.

“We had a little glitch in the stock market last month,” he told reporters at a Cabinet meeting, adding that it had risen since he was elected at the end of 2016. “And it’s going to go up once we settle trade issues, and once a couple of other things happen.”

“We need a little help from the Fed ... but we’re going to be good. The trade deals are kicking in,” he added later.

Trump in the final months of 2018 repeatedly attacked the Fed, blaming market volatility on the central bank’s steady and gradual interest-rate increases and calling it the “only problem” for the U.S. economy.

The Fed has a dual mandate to promote maximum employment and stable prices.

U.S. stocks in 2018 had their worst year in a decade, heavily driven by steep price drops in the last quarter.

On Wednesday, the first trading day of 2019, stocks stumbled on investor fears over a global economic slowdown.[.N] Fears were fueled by reports that factory activity weakened across much of Europe and Asia in December due to the U.S.-China trade war.

Trump at the cabinet meeting sounded upbeat about negotiations to reach a trade deal with China, saying they “are coming along very well, we’ll see what happens.”

The United States and China are about one month into a 90-day pause in implementing higher U.S. tariffs and other measures in a trade war that dominated much of 2018, as they work on reaching a deal.

In addition, the U.S. trade deal with Canada and Mexico awaits congressional approval.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Lisa Lambert; Editing by James Dalgleish and Leslie Adler

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