Coronavirus poses tough challenge for economic policymakers

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PAUL WISEMAN and CHRISTOPHER RUGABER AP Economics Writers WASHINGTON (AP) — The fast-moving coronavirus isn't just confounding health officials. It's also bedeviling policymakers and central bankers who are struggling to assess the economic damage from an outbreak that's reached 37 countries and territories, infected 80,000 people and killed 2,700 worldwide. They don't know where or how fast the virus will spread. They can't draw on clear precedents to consider what to do. And the tools they normally use to fight economic slumps — interest-rate cuts, government spending hikes and tax relief — either might not work very well, lack broad support or carry their own risks. If they overreact, policymakers can cause self-defeating panic. Yet if they respond too slowly or timidly, they
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