On Friday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that the Fed fully utilized all its tools to combat the effects of strict quarantine measures, which caused the closure of the global economy and increased unemployment in the United States.
"We did everything we could," said Powell, "reducing interest rates to almost zero, creating an unlimited number of bond purchases to reassure markets,and initiating emergency lending programs to support the flow of loans to businesses and state governments."
Meanwhile, economists are gearing up for a deep drop in output in the second quarter. They forecast that gradual recovery will occur in the remainder of the year.
According to data published last week, more than 40 million people, or about one in four American workers, have applied for unemployment benefits since mid-March. It is estimated that next Friday, the report will show a jump in the index of about 19.5%.
Powell said that the job losses were mostly from low-paid jobs in the service sector, exacerbating economic inequality.
With regards to a re-outbreak, Powell expressed concern that if a second round of quarantine happens in the US, economic recovery will be much slower.
"A second wave will really undermine public confidence and can lead to a longer and more difficult recovery," he said.
Powell also emphasized that he does not seek to follow the actions of other countries in lowering interest rates to a negative value. He said that the Fed's policy is to keep rates only near zero, purchasing long-term government bonds as alternative or compensation to whatever negative interest rates are imposed.
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