Fed seems inclined to keep rates low as virus poses risks

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CHRISTOPHER RUGABER AP Economics Writer WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve officials were mostly optimistic about the U.S. and global economies last month, though they noted the risk posed by China's viral outbreak and said they were ready to keep their benchmark interest rate at its current low level in the coming months. Fed policymakers observed at their Jan. 28-29 meeting that risks to the U.S. economy had faded since their previous meeting in December, according to minutes released Wednesday. The Trump administration had reached a preliminary trade agreement with China, and Congress approved an updated trade pact with Canada and Mexico. Still, a "number of downside risks remained prominent," officials said, including the coronavirus, which "had emerged as a new risk to the globa
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