Last week’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting was pretty much a yawn fest and the press conference held by Fed chairman Jerome Powell wasn’t much better. No fireworks. Just as expected, all ten members of the central bank’s rate-setting committee voted to hold the Fed’s benchmark federal-funds rate in a range of 1.5% to 1.75%. The Fed is comfortable.

I’m not sure this is comforting or complacency. Worth watching.

Just as importantly, the FOMC reiterated its intentions of doing nothing for the foreseeable future, as it watches what impact last year’s rate reductions have on U.S. economic growth.

“We’re comfortable with our current policy stance and we think it’s appropriate,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said at a news conference after the decision. Nevertheless, there was some suggestion that if the Fed were to change rates, the bias, if you can call it that, would be to the downside. In its statement, the Fed characterized consumer spending growth as moderate, a downgrade from “strong” in December, and said business investment had remained weak.

The one small wrinkle could be the coronavirus outbreak. The Fed chairman said it was too soon to say how the virus would affect Chinese, global and U.S. growth. “When China’s economy slows down...

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