Donald Trump has launched an extraordinary attack on the Federal Reserve and its chairman Jerome Powell while seemingly demanding US companies cease trading with China “immediately” as the rival superpower upped the ante in their ongoing trade war by hiking tariffs on $75bn (£61bn) of American goods.
After Mr Powell addressed a central bank symposium in Wyoming and declined to say he would cut interest rates in accordance with the president’s wishes, the commander-in-chief exploded on Twitter and asked who is the “the bigger enemy” of the US, Mr Powell or Chinese premier Xi Jinping.
“Our Country has lost, stupidly, Trillions of Dollars with China over many years,” he ranted, ordering American businesses to seek alternatives to working with China and telling US delivery companies like FedEx and UPS to “SEARCH FOR & REFUSE all deliveries of Fentanyl from China”, blaming Beijing for the US opioid crisis.
Stocks fell sharply on Wall Street after Mr Trump said he would respond to China’s latest tariff increase and called on US companies to consider alternatives to doing business in China.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank more than 300 points after the president made the announcements on Twitter.
The stocks of all three companies the president mentioned also dropped as traders tried to understand what the implications for them were.
Stocks had been wavering between gains and losses earlier after China said it would retaliate against the latest round of tariffs imposed by Washington.
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China said Friday that it will also increase import duties on US-made autos and auto parts. The retaliation pulled global markets into negative territory.
Mr Trump’s current economic rating in a new Associated Press poll represents a 5 percentage point drop from the same time last year, but for a president who has struggled to win over a majority of American voters on any issue, the economy represents a relative strength.
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Even some Democrats approve: Just 5 per cent of Democrats approve of his job performance overall, but 16 per cent approve of his handling of the economy.
Additional reporting by AP. Please allow a moment for our liveblog to load