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Federal Reserve cuts interest rate by half a point to address coronavirus slowdown

The Federal Reserve said it made the emergency rate cut to keep employment high and prices stable.
Posted at 7:38 AM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 10:38:36-05

The Federal Reserve announced an emergency rate cut on Tuesday in response to the economic impact of the coronavirus spread, trimming the nation's benchmark borrowing rate by half a percentage point.

"The coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity," the Fed's Open Market Committee said, adding that it took the action to help achieve maximum employment and the stability of prices.

The move comes after finance ministers from the G-7 convened via teleconference with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to determine an economic strategy to defend against any impact from the coronavirus.

Wall Street spiked immediately after the surprise announcement was made.

The committee, the Fed's monetary-policymaking arm, is due to meet March 17-18.