U.S. economy expanded amid first wave of virus impact, Fed says

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The Federal Reserve released a report on Wednesday claiming that the U.S. economy expanded at a moderate rate in the first weeks of the year, with the study conducted during the incipient rollout of the setbacks in the markets brought by the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

“There were indications that the coronavirus was negatively impacting travel and tourism,” the Washington report noted, representing 12 regional reserve banks through Feb. 24.

The survey also remarked that the manufacturing activity also expanded despite some supply chain delays. However, producers from different districts remain weary for some more supply disruptions in the coming weeks.

In terms of employment, the study noted that it grew “at a slight to moderate pace,” as hiring manpower was also affected by the virus outbreak while selling prices increased inexpensively.

 “Some firms, particularly manufacturers, were optimistic that the phase one trade deal with China would reduce goods prices, but some still struggled with tariffs and were concerned about how the coronavirus might affect prices,” the report furthered.

The Fed released this report a day after it imposed an emergency policy rate cut of 50-basis points which was last seen in 2008.

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