March 17, 2020 / 8:24 PM / 18 days ago

Fed's Harker says central bank works to keep markets liquid amid coronavirus 'black swan' shock

March 17 (Reuters) - Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harker said on Tuesday the global economy is reeling from the shock caused by the coronavirus, and that central bankers need to do what they can to stimulate the economy and keep markets functioning.

“This is something that in some ways is the proverbial black swan,” Harker said in a phone interview with Reuters. “The suffering and fear that is across the world, not just in this country, it’s palpable, it’s real.”

The Fed slashed interest rates to near zero on Sunday night to cushion the blow of the coronavirus and also announced $700 billion in purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities, along with other steps meant to stem market volatility. (Reporting by Jonnelle Marte in New York Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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