Trump says he ‘could get used to’ negative interest rates: ‘Love that’

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Donald Trump delivers a speech at the Congres center during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, on January 21, 2020.

Fabrice Coffrini | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump spoke glowingly of negative interest rates and took another shot at the Federal Reserve to a global audience on Tuesday.

“Even now as the United States is by far the strongest economic power in the world, it’s not even close … we’re forced to compete with nations that are getting negative rates, something very new,” Trump said in his address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “Meaning, they get paid to borrow money, something I could get used to very quickly. Love that.”

Several central banks around the world have adopted negative interest-rate policies over the past year in hopes of jolting their economies. Most notably, the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan implemented this policy amid stubbornly low inflation.

This has led to sovereign yields in Japan and Germany to trade below zero. By comparison, U.S. Treasury yields and the Federal Reserve’s overnight rate are high, which Trump contends puts the U.S. at a disadvantage relative to the rest of the world. The 10-year Treasury yield hovered above 1.8% on Tuesday.

“Nevertheless, we still have the best numbers that we’ve had in so many different areas. It’s a conservative approach and we have this tremendous upside potential,” he said, touting possible bilateral trade deals and deregulation measures.

However, economists are divided over the stimulative effects of negative interest rates. Some fear negative rates can keep an economy in a subdued state, rather than boost it from lackluster growth.

This is not the first time Trump has praised the use of negative interest rates. He said last week the concept was “incredible.”

Trump also took another shot at the Fed, saying the recent U.S. economic run-up comes “despite the fact that the Fed has raised rates too fast and lowered them too slowly.”

The U.S. central bank hiked rates four times in 2018, igniting criticism from Trump. The last one contributed to a massive sell-off before the end of that year. In 2019, however, the Fed cut rates three times and set a high bar for further cuts or even starting off another hiking cycle.

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