Back in March, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell pledged that he was going to whatever it takes to keep the U.S. economy from collapsing from the coronavirus pandemic. He really meant what he said.
The central bank has taken bold actions to help maintain the flow of credit and inject funds to where they are needed in order to keep the economy moving. The Fed has reduced interest rates and started buying bonds outside of normal Treasury bonds, or debt issued by the U.S. federal government, and mortgage debt. The Fed has expanded its debt buying program to extend to corporate debt in the form of exchange-traded funds and has begun to lend freely to commercial banks and other financial institutions. The central bank has also encouraged those same financial institutions to extend their own credit to keep the cash flow moving.
Since the middle of March, the Fed has purchased more than $1.2 trillion in debt in the form of bonds. The newly enacted CAREs Act stimulus package has also freed up more money for the central bank to spend, $4 trillion more. The Federal Reserve has so far bought, spent and printed more money than the central bank had within six years of the 2008 financial crisis.
"When it come to this lending, we're not going to run out of ammunition," Powell told NBC in an interview. "Where credit is not flowing, we have the ability in this unique circumstance to step in and provide those loans."
But all of the extraordinary actions the Federal Reserve is taking may come with a bigger price tag in the future.
When we look at China, the world's second largest economy and original epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic, we can see where globally the economy may be heading. South China Morning Post, owned by Alibaba
Could the Dollar be Heading Toward Inflation?
Inflation is usually understood as the rate of price increases on common goods and services. Inflation usually follows the decrease of a currency's purchasing power, which could be brought on from an increase in the amount of currency in the economy. The Federal Reserve usually takes necessary actions to ensure that inflation rates stay at stable levels. The bank is also mindful of deflation factors like a falling stock market and decreases in consumer spending that lead to lower prices of goods and services.
Currently, the central bank is moving with inflation in mind, in other words making policies to maintain the balance of the economy while reducing the risk of high inflation. However, some rate of inflation will likely come during the economic fallout of the pandemic.