The current economic expansion is poised to become longest in U.S. history, according to the latest leading-indicators data.
The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.2 percent in April to 112.1, following a 0.3 percent increase in March, and a 0.2 percent increase in February.
"The U.S. LEI rose in April, the third consecutive increase, with a majority of the leading indicators making positive contributions," said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board.
"Stock prices, financial conditions, and consumers' outlook on the economy buoyed the U.S. LEI, although the manufacturing sector showed continuing weakness. The Conference Board expects economic growth to moderate toward 2 percent by year end. The current expansion will enter its 11th year in July, becoming the longest expansion in U.S. history," Ozyildirim said.
For his part, President Donald Trump earlier this week called on the Federal Reserve to “match” what he said China would do to offset economic hardship being caused by tariffs as he sought to draft the U.S. central bank into his simmering trade war.
“China will be pumping money into their system and probably reducing interest rates, as always, in order to make up for the business they are, and will be, losing,” the president said in a tweet Tuesday.
“If the Federal Reserve ever did a ‘match,’ it would be game over, we win! In any event, China wants a deal!”
His suggestion that the Fed could help him counter China in the countries’ trade war builds on Trump’s repeated efforts to pressure the U.S. central bank to stimulate the U.S. economy, even though growth is solid and unemployment is at a 49-year low. The remarks may also help him deflect blame onto the Fed if the escalating trade dispute causes the U.S. economy to stumble as he seeks reelection in 2020, Bloomberg explained.
The president’s comments will likely feed concerns in other countries over Trump’s willingness to break long-standing norms of international economic diplomacy. The U.S. has long complained about other governments applying political pressure on central banks and argued that Fed policy is driven by domestic economic priorities rather than any international competition.
Fed officials raised interest rates four times last year but have since signaled an extended pause as they wait for a tight labor market to lift inflation that has been persistently too low.
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