Tags: Coronavirus | Financial Markets | fed | bullard | coronavirus

Bullard: Fed Watching Virus Fallout, Willing to Do More

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Friday, 06 March 2020 08:12 AM

The U.S. central bank is willing to act again if needed to shelter the U.S. economy from the impact of the spreading coronavirus, said Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard.

“We correctly positioned the policy rate given what we knew,” Bullard said in an interview Friday on Bloomberg Television, referring to the Fed’s emergency 50 basis point cut on Tuesday. “Everything is on the table. We are willing to do more. But we are monitoring the situation. We can meet at any time.”

Financial markets have plunged wildly this week as investors seek to price the fallout from the virus, which has infected more than 100,000 people worldwide and is causing significant disruptions to economic activity in China, where it originated, and elsewhere. Treasury yields fell to record lows with the 10-year note touching 0.69%.

Investors now expect Fed officials to reduce their benchmark rate by at least another 50 basis points when they gather for their next regularly-scheduled policy meeting on March 17-18.

“‘I just don’t want people to focus so heavily on that particular day because the FOMC has already shown, Jay Powell has already shown, we can move between meetings,” Bullard said, referring to the Fed chairman. “If we get to the March meeting and we don’t want to move at that particular day, that’s perfectly fine. But then you could get 10 days beyond that and things have deteriorated, maybe you decide to make a move then.”

Bullard said he was encouraged by signs that China is stabilizing and its economy may “come roaring back” in the second quarter. Hong Kong’s flu season ended early because officials had taken so many steps to head off the virus, he added. The effect of the virus should be temporary in other countries including the U.S., where the nation has a solid health-care system, he said.

“There are downside risks to growth,” Bullard said. “It seems like the markets are pricing in the very worst case.”

© Copyright 2020 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.


   
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The U.S. central bank is willing to act again if needed to shelter the U.S. economy from the impact of the spreading coronavirus, said Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard.
fed, bullard, coronavirus
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2020-12-06
Friday, 06 March 2020 08:12 AM
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