June 12, 2019 / 11:02 AM / 6 days ago

Fed is independent, U.S. official tells sceptical Berlin audience

BERLIN, June 12 (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve remains independent from political interference, a senior U.S. Treasury official told a sceptical Berlin audience on Wednesday, a day after President Donald Trump renewed criticism of the bank’s policy stance.

The U.S. central bank, whose independence is viewed as key to economic stability, has been under pressure from Trump to cut interest rates amid his administration’s shift towards protectionism and broader signs of potential economic weakness.

“The Fed Interest rate way to(o) high, added to ridiculous quantitative tightening. They don’t have a clue,” Trump wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.

Asked about Trump’s comments during a panel discussion, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Treasury Justin Muzinich said there was no indication of tensions between the Fed and the White House.

“The president has his views, everyone on this panel has his views...,” Muzinich said. “But the important point to emphasize is that, politically, the Fed’s independence is not in question.”

“That’s good to hear,” said Andreas Dombret, a former member of the Executive Board of Germany’s Bundesbank who had asked the question, drawing loud laughter and applause from the audience.

Fed policymakers could decide to cut rates in coming months given recent weak job and inflation data.

Reporting by Michael Nienaber,; editing by John Stonestreet

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