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Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Fed chair Jerome Powell made clear the U.S. central bank had no plans to raise interest rates anytime soon and expects the economy to need monetary assistance for some time.

  • In his Wednesday remarks, Powell expressed concern about "considerable risks" to the economic outlook over the "medium term," which he defined as at least over the next year.

Why it matters: Powell and the Fed have been out in front of the global policy response to the coronavirus pandemic from day one, taking an abundance of precautionary action long before the impact of the virus was clear to most others.

Between the lines: The Fed's statement opened by saying the central bank "is committed to using its full range of tools," one of few notable changes from its policy statement last month, but one that set a clear tone.

  • "We are going to be very patient," Powell said during the press conference. "That means we are not going to be in any hurry to move rates up."

What it means: "The message appears to be that officials are planning on making the forward guidance more dovish, and with more specificity, before too long," analysts at TD Securities said in a note to clients.

  • That could potentially include: some inflation targeting, a plan to hold rates at zero until unemployment reaches a certain level, or yield curve control policies focused on holding U.S. interest rates near the zero lower bound, they added.
  • "We are keen to see the minutes in three weeks time."

The bottom line: "The Fed is committed to doing 'whatever it takes,' and more, just to make sure," BlackRock CIO of global fixed income Rick Rieder said in a note to clients, quoting former ECB president Mario Draghi's famous pledge during the eurozone debt crisis.

  • "The FOMC has at this meeting taken the opportunity to begin laying out the transition from emergency support of market functioning to a longer-term Large-Scale Asset Purchases regime."

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Aug 3, 2020 - Economy & Business

Betting on inflation is paying off big for investors

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The specter of rising inflation is helping power assets like gold, silver and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) to strong returns with record demand this year.

The big picture: Investors continue to pack in even as inflation metrics like the consumer price index (CPI) and personal consumption expenditure (PCE) index have remained anchored.

34 mins ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 400,000 coronavirus deaths on Trump's final full day in office

Expand chart
Data: CSSE Johns Hopkins University; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Over 400,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the U.S. as of Tuesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

Why it matters: It only took a little over a month for the U.S. to reach this mass casualty after 300,000 COVID deaths were reported last month. That's over 100,000 fatalities in 36 days.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
42 mins ago - Podcasts

Bill Browder on Russia-U.S. relations after Alexei Navalny's arrest

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was recently arrested in Moscow, just months after being poisoned in an assassination attempt, in what could become Joe Biden’s first major foreign policy test.

Axios Re:Cap speaks with Bill Browder, an investor and author who has his own history of clashing with Putin, to better understand the Navalny situation and how the U.S. might respond by using a law that Browder helped create.