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Jerome Powell. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Xinhua via Getty

The Federal Reserve said on Wednesday that interest rates would remain between the target range of 1.5% and 1.75%.

Why it matters: Fed chair Jerome Powell said developments in the global economy since the last Fed meeting — namely threats posed by the coronavirus outbreak — have not changed the central bank's wait-and-see approach.

What he's saying: "It’s very uncertain ... how far [the coronavirus] will spread and what the macroeconomic effects will be," Powell told reporters at a press conference.

  • Companies are closing China-based stores, while automakers are extending factory closures in China in response to the outbreak. Powell noted there will be "implications in the near-term" for China's economy.

The big picture: As risks like Brexit and a full-on trade war have abated, Powell said there is room for "cautious optimism about outlook for the global economy."

  • In its closely watched policy statement, the Fed downgraded its characterization of U.S. consumer spending to "moderate" from "strong." Powell remained optimistic about the labor market, which has continued to pump out consistent job gains.

What's new: The Fed also announced it would continue to intervene with cash injections "at least through April" to prevent any flubs in money markets.

  • Market-watchers have cited these moves, along with the Fed's Treasury-bill purchases, as a key reason for the stock market's strength.
  • Powell said "many things affect markets," but the Fed's intention with the current program is more technical and not meant to provide stimulus.

The bottom line: The Fed is confident the economy is in a good place. Powell hinted that the current interest rate level is here to stay and only a drastic shift in economic conditions would change that view.

  • This is despite pressure from President Trump, who this week continued attempts to goad the Federal Reserve into further lowering rates.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 33 mins ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.