March 5, 2020 / 8:24 PM / a month ago

U.S. Federal Reserve postpones Denver conference

WASHINGTON, March 5 (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve said on Thursday it has postponed a community development conference it was co-sponsoring along with three other regional Federal Reserve Banks, underscoring the increasing difficulties the central bank faces as it seeks to maintain usual activities during the coronavirus outbreak.

The 2020 National Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference was due to take place from March 9-12 in Denver, Colorado.

The event was co-sponsored by the Fed regional banks of San Francisco, Chicago and Kansas City, along with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

All “jointly made this decision out of an abundance of caution to help safeguard the health and well-being of the more than 1,300 registered conference participants,” The Fed said in a statement.

Governments and companies around the world are canceling conferences amid fears that they could unwittingly spread the virus. The IMF and World Bank announced on Tuesday they they will adopt a “virtual format” for their Spring Meetings instead of convening in person in Washington.

The ECB also said this week that it was canceling a conference on European financial integration scheduled for March 3 due to cancellations and challenging travel logistics.

The Fed cut interest rates by a half percentage point on Tuesday in response to what it called the “evolving risks” posed by the virus, which it said would weigh on U.S. economic activity “for some time.”

There are currently 149 confirmed and presumed U.S. cases of the flu-like illness and 11 deaths, the CDC said on Thursday. (Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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