The US has cut interest rates to almost zero and launched a US$ 700bn stimulus program in a bid to protect the economy from the effect of coronavirus. It is part of a coordinated action announced on Sunday in the UK, Japan, the Eurozone, Canada, and Switzerland.
The global trade wars may not be over, but U.S. Federal Reserve officials on Thursday said the economy may have weathered the worst of it as risks begin to ease and businesses adjust to a new trade environment.
Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell urged Congress on Wednesday to take action on the rising US debt and deficit to ensure the continued growth of the American economy. Called before the Joint Economic Committee to discuss the economic outlook, the central bank chief stressed that it was not his role to give policy advice, before he gave diplomatically-worded policy advice.
The US central bank has cut interest rates again, hoping to shield the economy from the impact of trade wars and a global slowdown. The Federal Reserve lowered the target for its benchmark rate by a quarter-point, to a range of 1.5% to 1.75%. The move was the third cut in four months.
The Federal Reserve has announced a new program to boost liquidity in the US financial plumbing and allow the central bank to better manage interest rates, but without changing monetary policy.
The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to near a 50-year low of 3.5per cent in September, with job growth increasing moderately, suggesting the slowing economy could avoid a recession for now despite trade tensions that are hammering manufacturing.
Trade policy uncertainty driven by the Trump administration's escalating dispute with China means hundreds of billions of dollars in lost U.S. output and as much as US$850 billion lost globally through early next year, research published this week by the Federal Reserve suggests.
A divided Federal Reserve held the line on interest rates Wednesday and indicated formally that no cuts are coming in 2019. The decision came amid divisions over what is ahead and still leaves open the possibility that policy loosening could happen before the end of the year depending on how conditions unfold.
Brazil’s central bank held its benchmark interest rate at a record-low 6.50% on Wednesday, as expected, holding back from signalling looser policy because of doubts on economic reforms. The scenario outlined by policymakers was one of anaemic economic growth and high levels of economic slack putting downward pressure on inflation at home, plus the prospect of interest rates coming down in major developed economies.
Chairman Jerome Powell said on Tuesday that the Federal Reserve is prepared to respond if it decides the Trump administration's trade conflicts are threatening the U.S. economy. Investors read his remarks as a signal that the Fed will likely cut interest rates later this year.