Biden says has not yet spoken to Fed chair

US President Joe Biden says he respects the independence of Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell
US President Joe Biden says he respects the independence of Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell Brendan Smialowski AFP
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Washington (AFP)

US President Joe Biden said Tuesday that he has kept clear of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell in a deliberate measure to restore the independence at the central bank after the Trump era.

"I have not" spoken to Powell, Biden told journalists when asked if he'd made contact since taking office in January.

"I think the Federal Reserve is an independent operation and starting off on my presidency I wanted to be real clear and I'm not going to be doing the kind of things that were done in the last administration."

Fed chiefs are appointed by presidents but have traditionally retained independence in their key duties, such as overseeing the setting of interest rates.

Former US president Donald Trump nominated Powell but then broke with precedent by frequently -- and often ferociously -- criticizing his decisions and urging him to change policy.

"I've been very fastidious about not talking," Biden said.