FED KEEPS RATES STEADY

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday it would keep its benchmark interest rate near zero for as long as it takes to help the economy bounce back from the coronavirus crisis.

The Fed said the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will “weigh heavily” on the near-term outlook and poses “considerable risks” for the medium term.

In its policy statement, the Fed also began to pivot from stabilizing financial markets to stimulating the economy: the Fed said it would keep its current government bond-buying at least at the current pace of $120 billion per month, but describing the goal as in part to ensure “accommodative” financial conditions in the future.

The coronavirus epidemic continued to weigh on the economy, the Fed said in the statement, released after the end of its latest two-day policy meeting, even as officials upgraded their immediate outlook for the economy.