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Federal Reserve slashes interest rates to nearly zero amid coronavirus pandemic

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Posted at 5:26 PM, Mar 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-15 17:33:12-04

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve took emergency action Sunday and slashed its benchmark interest rate by a full percentage point to nearly zero and announced it would purchase more Treasury securities to encourage lending to try to offset the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

The central bank said the effects of the outbreak will weigh on economic activity in the near term and pose risks to the economic outlook.

The central bank said it will keep rates at nearly zero until it feels confident the economy has weathered recent events. The Fed also said it has dropped its requirements that banks hold cash reserves in another move to encourage lending.

The Fed's announcement comes after President Donald Trump badgered the the apolitical agency throughout weekend, pushing them to lower rates. Trump lauded the decision at a press conference at the White House on Sunday evening.

"I'm very happy," Trump said. "...you won't hear anything bad from me (about the fed) unless it's a few months from now."