Jan 30, 2019

Fed says it will be "patient" determining future rate hike decisions

Fed chair Jerome Powell speaks at the Economic Club of Washington earlier this month. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

As expected, the Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that it would not raise interest rates, but policymakers changed the closely watched policy statement to reflect that the central bank is in "wait-and-see" mode as it considers future rate hikes.

Between the lines: The Fed has adopted a more dovish stance in recent months — amid market volatility, shaken confidence in the global economy and criticism from President Trump. In the policy statement, officials removed language that "some further gradual [rate] increases" were coming and added that it would be "patient" in determining rate adjustments.

The Fed also signaled more flexibility in its plans for shrinking its multitrillion-dollar balance sheet. In a statement, officials said the Fed is "prepared to adjust any of the details for completing balance sheet normalization in light of economic and financial developments."

  • Late last year, Trump tweeted that the Fed should "stop with the 50 B's," referring to the $50 billion maximum the Fed can shrink the balance sheet per month.

Go deeper: Jerome Powell's obsession with inflation and economic growth

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Fear of coronavirus pandemic escalates

Photo: Abdulgani Basheer/AFP/Getty Images

In the blink of an eye, we've entered a new phase on the coronavirus.

The big picture: Italy, Iran and South Korea are at "decisive" points in their responses, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

Stocks fall 4% as sell-off worsens

A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

Stocks fell more than 4% on Thursday, extending the market’s worst week since the financial crisis in 2008 following a spike in coronavirus cases around the world.

The big picture: All three indices are in correction, down over 10% from recent record-highs, amid a global market rout. It's the S&P 500's quickest decline into correction territory in the index's history, per Deutsche Bank.

Coronavirus updates: California monitors 8,400 potential cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

33 people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus, and health officials are monitoring 8,400 people who have recently returned from "points of concern," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica, and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health