Fed slashes interest rates to near zero to combat impact from virus outbreak

The Fed also announced quantitative easing

Federal Reserve building in Washington DC on March 3, 2020
Federal Reserve building in Washington DC on March 3, 2020
(Xinhua/Liu Jie via Getty Images)
Last Updated:
March 15, 2020 - 10:44pm

The Federal Reserve on Sunday announced that it will slash interest rates to just 0-0.25 percent, citing the coronavirus as the impetus behind its decision.

"The effects of the coronavirus will weigh on economic activity in the near term and pose risks to the economic outlook," a press release explained. "In light of these developments, the Committee decided to lower the target range for the federal funds rate to 0 to 1/4 percent."

President Trump, a Federal Reserve critic who has called for lower interest rates, praised the move during a coronavirus press conference.

"I would think there are a lot of people on Wall Street that are very happy, and I can tell you that I'm very happy," the president said. "I didn't expect this and I like being surprised."

The Fed also announced plans to purchase at least $500 billion in Treasury securities and at least $200 billion in mortgage-backed securities in the months ahead.

This is the second rate cut announced in March. The Fed earlier this month voted to cut the target for the federal funds rate to 1-1.25 percent.