CNBC Excerpts: Council of Economic Advisers Chair Kevin Hassett on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Today
WHEN: Today, Wednesday, October 10, 2018
WHERE: CNBC’s “Squawk Box”
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The following are excerpts from a CNBC interview with Council of Economic Advisers chair Kevin Hassett CNBC’s “Squawk Box” (M-F 6AM – 9AM) today, Wednesday, October 10th. The following is a link to video of the full interview on CNBC.com:
Watch CNBC’s full interview with CEA Chair Kevin Hassett
All references must be sourced to CNBC.
Kevin Hassett on GDP and China:
I think now, you know, we’re looking at GDP growth of about 3.5% this year and carrying on to something a little bit north of three next year. And I guess that’s a little bit more optimistic than they are. You know, I think we’re all at the White House hopeful that talks can resume and that we can move to a positive place with China. But make no mistake, you know President Trump is serious about it, that if they don’t, you know, behave a little better, stop stealing our intellectual property, lower their tariffs on our products, then, you know, this could continue longer.
Kevin Hassett on the Independence of the Fed:
The White House really do respect the independence of the Fed. I think even what the president was saying last night made that evident where he said, you know, he stays out of it, he doesn’t browbeat Jay Powell or anything, but he thinks interest rates could do this or that. The fact is that the president’s respect for the independence is clear in the quality of the people we send over there. And you know, so anyway I have to stay away from these inflation picking up conversations.
Kevin Hassett on a Capital Spending Boom:
When you get a capital spending boom like we have, that’s a big increase in supply. And in our models at the CEA, that puts downward pressure on inflation at the margin. Because if you have more supply than you’re kicking out down the demand curve. So we think that the fact that grow this coming from capital spending as opposed to a big surge in consumption is really quite relevant.
Kevin Hassett on Emerging Markets Risk:
And you know, we are absolutely are constantly monitoring risks to the forecast. And the biggest right now is that the stress in places like Turkey, and Venezuela, and to a lesser extent, Argentina and of course China, is going to lead to the emerging markets to sort of head into a direction that’s more extremely south than we’ve seen so far.
Kevin Hassett on the Impact of Oil Prices:
We’ve carefully modeled the impact of oil prices on the U.S. economy. And the interesting thing is that the negative effect that used to be a big deal is much less of a big deal because we’re such a big oil producer now. So we get a positive effect from higher oil prices and a negative effect, of course, for higher gas prices and so on. And those two effects almost cancel now. It’s been a really big change.
Kevin Hassett on the Housing Market:
One of the things that very often precedes a recession is that you get a big housing boom after real estate prices skyrocket and then that housing boom drives real estate prices down because there’s a big increase in supply and that puts a lot of pressure on lenders. And so I think that if you’re thinking about, “Does this recovery have legs?”, then having housing moving a little bit slower than it did the last time we were booming like this before the last great recession is probably something of a comforting thought.
Kevin Hassett on Infrastructure:
Absolutely there are a lot of things that could surprise on the upside. But one of the big things is policy. You know, President Trump has a really aggressive agenda that he talked about all the way back to the campaign. And we’re not done. We’ve got deregulation that we can keep doing. And we’ve also got an infrastructure plan, for example, that we were hoping that we could move this year, but I’m sure that President Trump and the team will think about whether next year’s a better time. But if, you know, that big trillion dollar infrastructure plan were to go through, then that again, like increases the quality of capital in the U.S. It could be a big positive in the economy, even this late in the cycle.