US Treasury chief to confer with top market regulators
WASHINGTON - AFP
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is to hold a telephone conference on Monday with top market regulators, after the Dow and the Nasdaq suffered their worst week since 2008.
The call with the President’s Working Group on financial markets, announced in a Treasury Department statement, comes after Mnuchin on Sunday phoned top executives of the nation’s six largest banks.
"The CEOs confirmed that they have ample liquidity available for lending to consumer, business markets, and all other market operations," the Treasury said in the unusual statement posted on Mnuchin’s Twitter account.
It is rare for a Treasury secretary to make public his talks with major bankers.
The banks "have not experienced any clearance or margin issues and... the markets continue to function properly," the statement said.
Mnuchin’s talks Monday will include the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, Treasury said.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp and the office of the Comptroller of the Currency are also invited.
"These key regulators will discuss coordination efforts to assure normal market operations," the statement said, adding the US economy continues to see strong economic growth "with robust activity from consumers and business."
Investors took fright last week on a series of worries including a partial government shutdown in Washington, the Fed’s latest interest rate hike, the surprise resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis over policy disagreements with Trump, and the US-China trade war’s returning to the forefront.
On Saturday US media reported that Trump has privately asked cabinet members if he has the authority to fire Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, whom he has criticized for raising interest rates.
Mnuchin on Saturday quoted Trump as denying any plan to remove Powell.
Asian stocks were mixed on Monday after Mnuchin’s calls to the bankers, but analysts expressed both surprise and alarm at the Secretary’s Sunday statement, saying it might do the opposite of calming current jitters.