Fed slashes rates

Global central banks coordinate to cushion coronavirus blow

The U.S. Federal Reserve and global central banks moved aggressively on Sunday to buttress a world economy unraveling rapidly amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the Fed slashing interest rates to near zero, pledging hundreds of billions of dollars in asset purchases and backstopping foreign authorities with the offer of cheap dollar financing.

The coordinated global actions were reminiscent of the sweeping steps taken just over a decade ago to fight a meltdown of the global financial system, but this time the target was an entirely unfamiliar foe – a fast-spreading health crisis with no certain end in sight that is forcing entire societies to effectively shut down.

In a news conference Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said the epidemic was having a “profound” impact on the economy, forcing whole industries like travel and leisure offline. Yet the ultimate spread of the virus is so uncertain, Powell said, the Fed called off quarterly economic forecasts due this week as a futile exercise until it is clear how many people will get sick, and how


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