Fed leaves key rate alone but sees coronavirus among global risks

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference following the Federal Open Market Committee meeting in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Federal Reserve kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a low level Wednesday amid an economy that looks solid but faces potential global threats.

The Fed sketched a mostly positive picture of the U.S. economy in the statement it released after its latest policy meeting.

It also repeated its pledge to “monitor” the world economy, which may be increasingly threatened by China’s viral outbreak.

Chairman Jerome Powell said the signing of a preliminary U.S.-China trade deal, the resolution of Brexit and low rates in the U.S. and abroad had suggested that the world economy would expand more quickly. That’s now threatened by the virus.

Stock and bond markets have gyrated in the past week over fears over the outbreak.

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