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Trump-Powell dinner on Monday 'constructive': White House official

Kitco News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - This week’s dinner between U.S. President Donald Trump and the chairman of the Federal Reserve was “constructive” after a rocky few months, a top White House economic official said on Thursday.

“Both sides got their points across,” National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow told reporters at the White House of the Monday night dinner between Trump and Fed chairman Jerome Powell.

Kudlow was not at the dinner, the first meeting between the two men since Powell became Fed chair, and following a period in which Trump had been sharply critical of Fed policy.

But he said “a friend” told him it was “quite cordial ... respectful, constructive.”

Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida also attended along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

While other presidents have complained about aspects of Fed decisions, Trump’s intense language, direct call for lower interest rates, and discussion of trying to fire Powell, some felt, crossed a line that threatened to diminish the Fed’s credibility as an independent policy setting body.

Monday’s dinner came after the Fed signaled last week that its three-year-drive to tighten monetary policy may be at an end amid a suddenly cloudy outlook for the U.S. economy due to global headwinds and impasses over trade and government budget negotiations.

As it held interest rates steady on Jan. 30, the U.S. central bank also discarded its promises of “further gradual increases” in interest rates, and said it would be “patient” before making any further moves.

Reporting by Howard Schneider; Editing by Tom Brown

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