US Fed mounts aggressive new steps to combat coronavirus hit to economy


Posted at Mar 23 2020 08:46 PM

The US Federal Reserve on Monday said it would begin backstopping an unprecedented range of credit for households, small businesses and major employers in an effort to offset the "severe disruptions" to the economy caused by the coronarvirus outbreak.

The steps include the establishment of new programs that will lend against student loans, credit card loans, and US government backed-loans to small businesses, as well as new programs to buy bonds of larger employers and make loans to them.

Existing purchases of US Treasury and mortgage-backed securities will be expanded as much as needed "to support smooth market functioning and effective transmission of monetary policy to broader financial conditions and the economy."

In a statement the Fed said the effort, approved unanimously by members of the Federal Open Market Committee, was taken because "it has become clear that our economy will face severe disruptions" as a result of the health crisis.

(Reporting by Howard Schneider; Editing by Dan Burns and Andrea Ricci)