FOMC Press Conference March 3, 2020 | Summary and Q&A

March 3, 2020
Federal Reserve
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FOMC Press Conference March 3, 2020


The Federal Reserve has reduced the target range for the federal funds rate by 0.5% to address the potential economic risks posed by the coronavirus outbreak.

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Key Insights

  • 💉 The rate cut is part of a multifaceted response to the coronavirus outbreak, with actions needed from health-care professionals, fiscal authorities, and various sectors of society.
  • ❓ Monetary policy can support economic activity by ensuring accommodative financial conditions and boosting confidence.
  • 😒 Coordination among central banks is evident at a high-level commitment to use all available tools.
  • 😆 The Fed is prepared to adjust its policy stance as needed but is currently satisfied with the current rate cut.
  • 🙈 Concerns from industries directly affected by the coronavirus are emerging, although concrete impacts on economic data are yet to be seen.
  • 🥅 The Fed remains focused on its dual mandate goals and does not consider political considerations in its decision-making process.


CHAIR POWELL. Earlier today the Federal Open Market Committee announced a 1/2 percentage point reduction in the target range for the federal funds rate, bringing that range to 1 to 1-1/4 percent. My colleagues and I took this action to help the U.S. economy keep strong in the face of new risks to the economic outlook. The fundamentals of the U.S. e... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What led the Federal Reserve to decide on a rate cut?

The spread of the coronavirus and its potential impact on the economy prompted the Fed to take action and provide support. The uncertainty surrounding the magnitude and duration of the economic effects drove the decision.

Q: How confident is the Fed that the economy will recover quickly?

While the duration of the economic impact is uncertain, Fed Chair Powell expressed confidence that the U.S. economy is strong and will eventually recover. He expects solid growth and a strong labor market to return once the virus is contained.

Q: Has the Federal Reserve coordinated its actions with other central banks?

The Fed is engaged in ongoing discussions with central banks globally, but the rate cut decision was made within the context of the Fed's domestic mandate. However, the G-7 statement reflects a commitment to using all available tools, including monetary policy, to support the economy.

Q: What would cause the Fed to take further steps in response to the economic outlook?

The Fed will closely monitor developments and act appropriately based on the flow of events. While there is no specific trigger, a range of factors can influence the Fed's decisions, requiring them to assess the situation continuously.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The Fed has taken action to help the U.S. economy maintain its strength in the face of the new risks caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

  • The unemployment rate remains low, job gains have been solid, and wages have been rising, supporting strong household spending.

  • The coronavirus has disrupted economic activity and supply chains, leading to concerns in the tourism and travel industries.

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