U.S. Markets

Trump Fed nominee Moore says central bank should cut rates: NYT

FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Board building on Constitution Avenue is pictured in Washington, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

(Reuters) - President Donald Trump’s expected nominee for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Stephen Moore, said the U.S. central bank should immediately cut interest rates by half a percentage point, according to an interview with the New York Times on Tuesday.

Moore, a conservative economic commentator and a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told the Times he is not a “sycophant for Trump” or “a dove” on monetary policy, a reference to Fed officials who favor an easier policy that supports economic growth.

Moore told Bloomberg on Friday he was not sure where interest rates should go from here, but he was a fierce critic of the central bank’s decisions to raise rates in 2018.

Last year in a radio interview he suggested that Trump had cause to fire Fed Chairman Jerome Powell for “wrecking our economy.” In the Bloomberg interview he said his comments suggesting Powell and other Fed policymakers should be fired were “probably written in a time of anger” over what he called the Fed’s “substantial mistake” to raise rates in December.

The Fed raised rates four times in 2018.

None of the Fed’s current policymakers believe a rate cut is in order, let alone a half percentage point cut, which is twice the size of each of its recent rate hikes.

San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly, on Tuesday, in response to a question, said she does not support a rate cut. She said that rates are currently at neutral, and she would need to see more data before pulling the trigger on any rate move, up or down.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in New York and Ann Saphir in San Francisco; Editing by Leslie Adler