Fed Chair: 'Too Early to Say' How Coronavirus Might Affect Strong U.S. Economy

By Susan Jones | February 11, 2020 | 10:52am EST
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell (Photo: Screen capture)
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell (Photo: Screen capture)

(CNSNews.com) - Risks to the current, strong U.S. economic outlook include the coronavirus, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday.

"In particular, we are closely monitoring the emergence of the coronavirus, which could lead to disruptions in China that could spill over to the rest of the global economy."

But Powell said it’s “too early to say” what that spillover might be.

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) asked Powell to "walk me through your thinking on assessing the situation in China now in terms of the economics and the potential spillover effect."

Powell repeated that the U.S. economy is in a "very good place."

And into that picture comes the coronavirus, and so the question is, how do we think about that? And of course, first we observe the human tragedy. It's just terrible to watch.

But the question for us really is what will be the effects on the U.S. economy? Will it be persistent; will it be material? That's really the question.

I think we know there will be significant effects on China for some part of the first half of the year, and China's close neighbors and major trading partners in Europe as well as Asia. And we know that there will be some -- very likely be some effects on the United States.

We think it's just too early to say. We have to resist the temptation to speculate on this, and so we'll be watching that carefully, again.

And the question is, will these be persistent effects that could lead to a material reassessment of the outlook?


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