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Fed warns pandemic poses “considerable risks”

Fed chair Jerome Powell

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America’s central bank will continue actions designed to shore up the US economy, but warned of “considerable risks” posed by coronavirus.

The Federal Reserve slashed interest rates toward zero at the onset of the pandemic and has pledged to maintain low rates until the economy is back on track.

Policymakers on Wednesday said they expected to keep rates low until the end of 2022.

The report sent US shares higher.

Financial markets have rallied since March, a rebound that some analysts say has been facilitated by the Fed’s aggressive response to the health and economic crisis.

It has pumped trillions of dollars into the financial system, buying up US Treasuries and other assets to encourage banks to keep lending and prevent a market collapse.

It has also stepped in with new programmes to lend to small and medium-sized firms and buy corporate and municipal debt.

The Fed on Wednesday said financial conditions had improved but that it would continue asset purchases at the current levels.

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