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Southwest Economy, First Quarter 2020

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell comments on FOMC rate cut

“… The virus presents significant economic challenges. Like others, we expect that the illness and the measures now being put in place to stem its spread will have a significant effect on economic activity in the near term. Those in travel, tourism and hospitality industries are already seeing a sharp drop in business. In addition, the effects of the outbreak are restraining economic activity in many foreign economies, which is causing difficulties for U.S. industries that rely on global supply chains. The weakness abroad will also weigh on our exports for a time. Moreover, the energy sector has recently come under stress because of the large drop in global oil prices. Inflation, which has continued to run below our symmetric 2 percent objective, will likely be held down this year by the effects of the outbreak.”

—Excerpted from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s statement following the Federal Open Market Committee’s emergency reduction of the federal funds rate to a range of 0–0.25 percent, March 15, 2020.

Southwest Economy is published quarterly by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

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