US may be in recession amid Covid-19 crisis, says Fed chair Jerome Powell

US may be in recession amid Covid-19 crisis, says Fed chair Jerome Powell

The Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome Powell, said on Thursday that the US may already be in recession and warned that the time for lifting societal restrictions that have squashed the economy would be dictated by the coronavirus outbreak – in contrast to Donald Trump’s aspiration to return to normal life by Easter, The Guardian reports.

In a rare live television interview for a Fed chair, the morning after the US Senate passed a $2.2tn disaster funding package, Powell said that America’s central bank would not “run out of ammo” in its efforts to support the economy through this “unique” crisis, but gave no assurances on how long the US will be partially shut down.

“We are not an expert in pandemics over here, we want to listen to the [health] experts,” he told NBC’s Today program on Thursday morning.

The only individual Powell referred to during his interview was not the president or any of his political aides, but Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and the leading public health figure on the White House coronavirus taskforce.

Asked by the Today anchor Savannah Guthrie whether the public should pay more attention to Trump’s bullish projections of everyone soon returning to work normally or health experts who cautioned against such a prospect, Powell echoed what Fauci has said this week.

“Fauci said … the virus is going to set the timetable and I think that’s right … the first order of business is to get the spread of the virus under control and then resume economic activity,” Powell said.

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Vestnik Kavkaza

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