Judy Shelton, one of President Donald Trump’s most recent picks for the Federal Reserve board, challenged an article of faith regarding the U.S. central bank in private comments to a bank executive last month: that it should operate free of political influence.
Shelton shared her views on monetary policy and the Fed with Beat Siegenthaler, global macro adviser for UBS Group AG, after speaking at an event on Oct. 18 in Washington on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund annual meetings.
“I don’t see any reference to independence in the legislation that has defined the role of the Federal Reserve for the United States,” Shelton told Siegenthaler, according to a transcript of the interview. …If people were to read the law, “they would see that it demands that the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve work hand-in-hand with Congress and the president to meet certain strategic economic goals for the U.S.,” Shelton added. …
… Shelton’s comments are in line with the philosophy of the man who would nominate her. She told Siegenthaler that the Fed “is by its nature a creation of Congress,” adding that if it insists on independence, it should be more transparent about its activities with lawmakers.
“It’s in some ways healthier that criticism from the White House is out in the open. At least we know how the president feels,” Shelton said in the UBS interview. …
Shelton’s comments to UBS’ Siegenthaler also revealed her view that the Fed is being bullied by markets. She told him that the Fed “wouldn’t dare pull the monetary rug out from under market expectations, even if it wanted to discipline” them.
“Someone could say that it’s the central banks that are the currency manipulators,” she added.
“All it takes is an announcement by, say, the head of the ECB that we’re looking at more stimulus measures” to weaken the euro against the dollar, she said, referring to the European Central Bank. “That does affect our trade outlook.” …
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