Fed Leaves Interest Rates Near-Zero as Economic Recovery Slows

Central bankers said the pace of the recovery had slowed. The Fed Chair will take reporter questions at a news conference.

By Jeanna Smialek

Federal Reserve officials left interest rates near-zero and pledged to continue making huge purchases of government-backed bonds as the central bank tries to help the United States economy weather the pandemic’s ongoing hit.

“The pace of the recovery in economic activity and employment has moderated in recent months, with weakness concentrated in the sectors most adversely affected by the pandemic,” the central bank’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee said in its January policy statement.

Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell, speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, said the resurgence of the virus was “weighing on economic activity and job creation,” and that the economic outlook hinges crucially on the pandemic itself.

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