US Federal Reserve offers $2.3 trillion support
The US Federal Reserve on Thursday rolled out a broad, $2.3 trillion effort to bolster local governments and small and mid-sized businesses in its latest move to keep the US economy intact as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic.
The Fed said it would work through banks to offer four-year loans to companies of up to 10,000 employees, and begin to directly lend to state governments and more populous counties and cities to help them respond to the crisis.
In announcing what may prove to be the Fed’s most groundbreaking steps yet in the battle against the coronavirus, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank’s role had now broadened beyond its usual focus on keeping markets “liquid” and functional, to helping the United States get the economic and financial space it needs to fix a dire health emergency.
“Our country’s highest priority must be to address this public health crisis, providing care for the ill and limiting the further spread of the virus,” Powell said in a statement released on Thursday.
“The Fed’s role is to provide as much relief and stability as we can during this period of constrained economic activity, and our actions today will help ensure that the eventual recovery is as vigorous as possible.”
Though many of the programmes are due to remain open only until September, Powell said the Fed’s commitment would only be limited by the need to get the pandemic controlled and to build a robust recovery. “We will continue to use these powers forcefully until we are confident that we are solidly on the road to recovery,” Powell said. Reuters