Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic is putting unprecedented strain on the U.S. economy but said, “there can be a good rebound on the other side of this,”
“There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with our economy, quite the contrary,” Powell said Thursday morning in an exclusive interview with Savannah Guthrie on the “TODAY” show, while adding that, “we may well be in a recession.”
“This is a unique situation,” Powell said. “People are being asked to close their businesses and stay home from work. At a certain point, we will get the spread of the virus under control and confidence will return.”
The Federal Reserve slashed interest rates twice this month, down to nearly zero, and has pumped trillions into the economy as part of a series of emergency measures to shore up the economy that has been ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Fed said such extreme action was warranted because “the coronavirus outbreak has harmed communities and disrupted economic activity in many countries, including the United States.”
By making borrowing as cheap as possible, the central bank hopes to give companies and Americans ready access to nearly interest-free cash to invest and spend.
“We’re trying to make a bridge,” Powell said Thursday, by stepping in and replacing lending “to places where credit is not being offered.”
“We’re not experts in pandemics. But the sooner we get the virus under control, people will very willingly open back up their businesses and get back to work.”
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