Fed’s Powell Says Central Bank Pledged To Use All Tools To Help Recovery

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FILE PHOTO: U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks to reporters after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates in an emergency measure designed to protect the world’s largest economy from impact of the coronavirus, at a press conference in Washington, United States, March 3, 2020. REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque

(Reuters) – The Federal Reserve remains committed to using all the tools at its disposal to help the U.S. economy recover from the blow of the coronavirus pandemic, President Jerome Powell said on Monday.

“We remain committed to using our tools to do what we can, for as long as it takes, to ensure that the recovery is as strong as possible and to limit the lasting damage to the economy,”

Powell said in remarks released ahead of Tuesday’s appearance before the House Financial Services Committee, the first of three days of testimony in Congress this week.

Powell’s summary of the “marked improvement” in the economic landscape largely echoed what he said last week after the Fed’s last policy meeting, at which policymakers pledged to hold interest rates. to zero until the economy reaches full employment and inflation is on track to modestly exceed the central bank’s 2% target.

The housing sector has rebounded, consumer spending has recouped about 75% of its decline, and about half of the 22 million jobs lost in the crisis have returned, he said. “Employment and overall economic activity, however, remain well below their pre-pandemic levels and the way forward remains highly uncertain,” he said.

Powell’s speech included an update on the Fed’s Main Street Lending Program, which has now funded or has in preparation 230 loans totaling around $ 2 billion. “The demand for Main Street loans may increase over time if the pandemic continues to affect the ability of businesses and nonprofits to access credit through normal channels and as other support programs expire.” , did he declare.

Reporting by Dan Burns in New York and Ann Saphir in Berkeley, California; Editing by Leslie Adler and Matthew Lewis

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