WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said he supported a strong dollar, as the U.S. dollar index extended its gains one day after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell rejected the idea of using negative interest rates despite Trump’s vocal support.
“It’s a great time to have a strong dollar … Everybody wants to be in the dollar because we kept it strong. I kept it strong,” he said in an interview on Fox Business Network.
The dollar index on Thursday extended its gains, rising 0.3% to a three-week high of 100.47.
On Wednesday the head of the U.S. central bank, in a closely watched speech, offered a sobering assessment of the U.S. economy in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic that has battered global markets.
“There is a sense, growing sense I think, that the recovery may come more slowly than we would like,” Powell said, making a direct appeal for Congress to do more to address the crisis. At the same time, he said negative interest rates are “not something that we are considering.”
Trump on Thursday told the television network that he “could live both ways” regarding the dollar’s strength, but said he supported it for now.
“From a trade standpoint, it’s tougher. But from a country standpoint and an inflation standpoint – you don’t have inflation, you don’t have problems,” he said. “Right now it’s good to have a strong dollar. Right now having a strong dollar is a great thing.”
Trump previously has called on the Fed to push rates into negative territory as a way to limit dollar strength and keep U.S. exports competitive.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Kanishka Singh; Editing by Alex Richardson and Chizu Nomiyama)