The Fed: Federal Reserve chair Powell will put pedal to the metal to help economy: live blog recap

After two months of extraordinary action in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Federal Reserve officials met via webconference over the last two days to get a progress report and will release their conclusions publicly later Wednesday afternoon.

Follow along with MarketWatch’s live updates as the central bank releases a policy statement at 2 p.m. and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell talks with reporters 30 minutes later.

The size of the Fed’s response to the health crisis is stunning, but in a sense, the central bank is still, like all of us, subject to fluid developments in combating COVID-19 and questions about when the stay-at-home orders are rescinded.

The Fed has cut its benchmark fed funds rate close to zero and purchased almost $2 trillion in Treasurys and mortgage related assets. It has announced nine lending programs to lend another $2 trillion to calm all corners of the financial markets. As a result, the Fed’s balance sheet has reached a record $6.6 trillion, up from $4.2 trillion in February.

Stocks have recovered from their lowest levels in late March but the Dow Jones Industrial
DJIA,
+2.20%

emains down about 15% year-to-date.

Read:Fed has simple goal Wednesday — project confidence in face of the unknown

And see:Fed’s souped-up lending program extends aid to ‘junk bonds’

Also:Fed’s fast and furious reaction to pandemic could grow balance sheet to $10 trillion by early next year.

And for the latest on the economy:GDP sinks 4.8% in the first quarter

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