The biggest slide in U.S. stock prices since February has some investors nervous, but U.S. officials expressed calm at today’s International Monetary Fund meeting in Bali, Indonesia, Bloomberg reports.
“The fact that there’s somewhat of a correction given how much the market has gone up is not particularly surprising,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said.
European and Asian stocks have been dropping in response to the American dive, which began about a week ago.
U.S. President Donald Trump had blamed the drop on the U.S. Federal Reserve, which he said had “gone crazy” with interest rate increases. The Fed has been steadily raising interest rates on loans to banks over the last two years to prevent the American economy from overheating as “cheap” money inspires businesses and individuals to take on debt.
International banking leaders did not agree with Trump’s assessment.
“There are ups and downs, and I think it’s fair to observe that the U.S. equity markets and stock markets in general have been extremely high,” IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said at today’s IMF meeting.
Central bankers often raise rates to head off rising inflation caused by demand outstripping supply, though inflation in the U.S. has remained unusually low for a bull market this advanced; earlier in October, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said these were “extraordinary times.” Today the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its monthly Consumer Price Index, which is an indicator of inflation.
Despite her outward calm, the IMF’s Lagarde has acknowledged that the international economy is not doing as well as could be hoped. Earlier this week the IMF downgraded its global economic growth forecast to 3.7%, down from its 3.9% April estimate.