After US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin let slip a suggestion that a weak dollar is good for trade on Wednesday, a clean-up effort Thursday appears to have been successful.
“I think [Mnuchin’s comments] were taken out of context,” Trump told CNBC’s Joe Kernan.
“I don’t like talking about [the value of the dollar] because, frankly, nobody should be talking about it. It should be what it is,” Trump said. “[The dollar’s value] should also be based on the strength of the country. We are doing so well. Our country is becoming so economically strong again. And strong in other ways too, by the way, that the dollar is going to get stronger and stronger.
“And ultimately I want to see a strong dollar,” Trump added.
To Trump’s point, the comments didn’t contradict Mnuchin’s sentiment in his comments on Wednesday, which reiterated his understanding that a stronger dollar is a reflection of the strength of the economy. But Trump made sure to avoid talking about what a weaker dollar might mean for trade, though he has contended in the past that it could help the US be more competitive.
Trump’s comments managed to push the Dollar Index up Thursday afternoon, after sitting at or around a three-year low for a day.
The dollar had continued its slide earlier Thursday on criticism of Mnuchin’s initial comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi.
“The use of language [by Mnuchin] . . . that doesn’t reflect the terms of reference we have agreed,” Draghi was quoted by The Financial Times as saying.
“Several members [of the ECB governing council] expressed concern,” he said. “The concern was broader than simply the exchange rate, it was about the overall status of international relations right now.”