Philippines finance minister warns US policies threaten global growth

The Philippine finance minister has said that uncertainty in US economic policy was “making people nervous everywhere” and could harm global growth, in remarks that underscore how turmoil in Washington is reverberating across the world. Carlos Dominguez III, a close friend and top economic adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte, told the Financial Times that US president Donald Trump has created anxiety and contributed to the recent global plunge in stock prices. “The uncertainties that have been injected into US economic policies have roiled international markets,” Mr Dominguez said in an interview. “Going after interest rates, not getting the budget approved — you know, quite frankly, I think it’s unnecessary.” Mr Trump was reported by Bloomberg last month to have discussed firing Jay Powell, the Federal Reserve chairman, after the central bank increased interest rates. Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, denied that the president ever suggested firing Mr Powell. However, Mr Trump has hectored the Fed chief and the central bank’s rates policy in remarks that contributed to the stock price fall. “When banks see uncertainty going up or risk going up, what they do is raise interest rates, and that will mitigate against economic growth,” said Mr Dominguez.  He was, however, upbeat on the performance of the Philippine economy, saying that inflation, which last year rose to its highest level in nine years, was “over the hump” and had begun to reduce “drastically”.

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