(Reuters) – The Federal Reserve remains committed to using all the tools at its disposal to help the US economy recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, President Jerome Powell said Monday.
“We remain committed to using our tools to do what we can for as long as necessary to ensure that the recovery is as strong as possible and to limit the lasting damage to the economy.”
Powell said in remarks released before appearing before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday, the first of three days of testimony before Congress this week.
Powell’s summary of the “noticeable improvement” in the economic landscape largely repeats what he said last week after the Fed’s last political meeting, at which politicians promised to keep interest rates at zero until the economy reaches full employment and inflation is on the way. to show moderately exceed the 2% target of the central bank.
The housing sector has recovered, consumer spending has recovered about 75% of its decline and about half of the 22 million jobs lost in the crisis have returned, he said. “However, both employment and overall economic activity remain well below pre-pandemic levels, and the road ahead remains highly uncertain,” he said.
Powell’s speech included an update of the lending program on Fed High Street, which has now financed or is in the process of implementing 230 loans totaling about $ 2 billion. “Demand for loans from Maine Street may increase over time if the pandemic continues to affect the ability of businesses and nonprofits to access credit through normal channels and as other support programs expire,” he said.
Report by Dan Burns in New York and Ann Sapphire in Berkeley, California; Edited by Leslie Adler and Matthew Lewis