Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the USA economy "may well be in a recession", but that the central bank is taking unprecedented action to help ensure economic activity can resume as soon as the coronavirus pandemic is under control.
"We may well be in a recession", he acknowledged, while saying there's nothing fundamentally wrong with the economy and that it performed well through February.
"We may well be in recession", he said.More news: Prince Harry, Meghan Markle planning to build new home in England
The aim of the trillions of dollars in lending and bond purchases the Fed has authorized over the past two weeks is precisely to let an otherwise healthy economy pause long enough to keep people safe, Powell said, before what could be a strong rebound later in the year.
Mr. Powell said the Fed's job now is to make sure businesses of all sizes can have a "bridge" of support, including through emergency lending programs the Fed has been rolling out, so that the economy can recover faster.
"The sooner we get through this period, and get this virus under control, the sooner the recovery can come".
The Federal Reserve boss's emphasis on the virus being controlled before economic activity could resume appeared to diverge from President Donald Trump's goal to have American "opened up and raring to go" by Easter.More news: NY is 'splitting' ventilators and converting anesthesia machines for coronavirus patients
"You've got to be realistic and you've got to understand that you don't make the timeline".
It has cut its benchmark interest rate to almost zero, embarked on an unlimited bond-buying program to pump cash into the financial system and set up several emergency programs meant to ensure that banks can keep lending to companies and city and state governments.
Federal Reserve President, Jerome Powell, told USA broadcaster NBC that the central bank is not going to "run out of ammunition". "That just doesn't happen", he said.
Ben Bernanke, who led the Fed all over the monetary disaster, made his personal uncommon look in a televised interview on CBS's "60 Minutes" program in March 2009.More news: Plenty of companies hiring during pandemic
"At a certain point, we will get the virus under control and confidence will return", Powell said. "We try to do the absolutely best in a way that is completely nonpolitical and nonpartisan".