Powell Says Fed Actions Unlocked $2 Trillion to Support Economy

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank’s actions to backstop a range of credit markets after the coronavirus convulsed Wall Street this past spring had unlocked almost $2 trillion to support businesses, cities and states.

In testimony prepared for delivery at a congressional hearing Tuesday, Mr. Powell said the Fed’s unprecedented steps to stabilize financial markets had largely succeeded in restoring the flow of credit from private lenders.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Nov. 19 told Mr. Powell that he would not grant extensions for five lending programs that have backstopped markets for corporate and municipal debt and to purchase loans made to small businesses and nonprofits when those programs expire on Dec. 31.

Mr. Powell didn’t elaborate in his testimony, released on Monday afternoon, about the central bank’s disagreement with Mr. Mnuchin’s decision. The Fed had earlier said it would have preferred the lending programs had stayed open because the pandemic emergency hasn’t receded.

Mr. Mnuchin is slated to testify alongside Mr. Powell at Tuesday’s hearing and didn’t address the conflict in his prepared testimony.

Source: WSJ

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