The Federal Reserve has slashed interest rates to zero in a bid to keep the economy moving during the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision was taken on Sunday, March 15, following a week of disruption to global markets. The Fed was expected to cut rates to zero this coming Wednesday, March 18, when a board meeting had been scheduled.
"The coronavirus outbreak has harmed communities and disrupted economic activity in many countries, including the United States," an official statement said. "Global financial conditions have also been significantly affected."
President Trump praised the move, saying the rate cut "makes me very happy."
In addition to rate cuts, the Fed also said it would purchase another $700bn worth of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities.
These are tactics that the Fed has used in previous years to help buffer against problems that could arise from housing and government debt. These are areas that could bring the economy to a standstill or place it in recession.
The Fed has also made deals with five other foreign central banks: the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank and the Swiss National Bank, to lower rates on currency swaps.