Fed says economic recovery remains on track despite COVID-19 surge

WASHINGTON, July 28 (Reuters) – The U.S. economic recovery is still on track despite a rise in coronavirus infections, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday in a new policy statement that remained upbeat and flagged ongoing talks around the eventual withdrawal of monetary policy support.

In a news conference following the release of the statement, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. job market still had “some ground to cover” before it would be time to pull back from the economic support the U.S. central bank put in place in the spring of 2020 to battle the coronavirus pandemic’s economic shocks.

“I would want to see some strong job numbers” in the coming months before reducing the $120 billion in monthly bond purchases the Fed continues to make, he told reporters.

But Powell also downplayed, at least for now, the risk that the renewed spread of the coronavirus through its more infectious Delta variant will put the recovery at risk or throw the Fed off track as it plans an exit from crisis-era policies.

“It will have significant health consequences” in the areas of the country where outbreaks are intensifying, Powell said. Yet in the prior waves of coronavirus infections “there has tended to be less in the way of economic implications … It is not an unreasonable expectation” that would remain the case this time, he added.

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Source: Reuters, Howard Schneider, Lindsay Dunsmuir, Ann Saphir