U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday that the negative economic impact from the coronavirus outbreak is a one-time event that will not last beyond 2020.
At a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on the Trump administration's budget plan, he said the coronavirus would not affect the administration's long-term U.S. growth forecasts.
"I don't expect the coronavirus will have an impact beyond this year," Mnuchin said.
China reported its lowest number of new coronavirus cases in two weeks, the day after Beijing's senior Chinese medical adviser said the epidemic could be over by April.
The outbreak has spooked investors amid quarantines, supply-chain disruptions and factory shutdowns, and the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the apparent slowdown in the epidemic's spread should be viewed with "extreme caution."
Meanwhile, Mnuchin said Wednesday the U.S. soon will announce new regulations related to crytocurrency and digital payment systems.
Mnuchin told a Senate Finance Committee hearing that the department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is preparing rules that will improve transparency and prevent cryptocurrencies from being used as “secret bank accounts.”
“We will be rolling out new regulations to be very clear on greater transparency so that law enforcement can see where the money is going and that this isn’t used for money laundering,” Mnuchin said.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network works to prevent money laundering, terrorist financing and other financial crimes.
Mnuchin also said that he and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell do not think the U.S. needs to consider central-bank issued digital currency, though it’s something they could consider again “down the road.”
Speaking earlier Wednesday to the Senate Banking Committee, Powell said: “Every major central bank in the world right now is doing a deep dive on digital currencies” and it’s the Fed’s responsibility to be at the forefront of that thinking.
Material from Bloomberg and Reuters has been used in this report.
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