AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve took emergency action Sunday to help the economy withstand the coronavirus by slashing its benchmark interest rate to near zero and saying it would buy $700 billion in Treasury and mortgage bonds.
The Fed's surprise announcement signaled its concern that the viral outbreak will depress economic growth in coming months and that it is prepared to do whatever it can counter the risks. It cut its key rate by a full percentage point — to a range between zero and 0.25% — and said it would keep it there until it feels confident that the economy can survive a sudden near-shutdown of economic activity in the United States.
The central bank will buy $500 billion of Treasury securities and $200 billion of mortgag