FILE - In this July 10, 2019, file photo Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies before the House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Powell has signaled that rising economic pressures, notably from President Donald Trump’s trade wars and from a global slowdown, have become cause for concern. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

The Latest: Fed cuts key policy rate by quarter-point

July 31, 2019 - 2:05 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Federal Reserve and its action related to a key interest rate (all times local):

2 p.m.

The Federal Reserve is cutting its key interest rate for the first time in a decade to try to counter threats ranging from uncertainties caused by President Donald Trump's trade wars to chronically low inflation and a dim global outlook.

The central bank cut its benchmark rate — which affects many loans for households and businesses — by a quarter-point to a range of 2% to 2.25%. It's the first rate cut since December 2008 during the depths of the Great Recession, when the Fed slashed its rate to a record low near zero and kept it there until 2015.

The economy is far healthier now despite risks to what's become the longest expansion on record.

The Fed repeats a pledge to "act as appropriate to sustain the expansion," wording that markets have seen as a signal for possible future rate cuts.

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Global markets are in a holding pattern ahead of a decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which is poised to cut its key interest rate.

The Fed on Wednesday is expected to cut that rate to counter what it sees as threats to the U.S. economy ranging from uncertainties caused by President Donald Trump's trade conflicts to persistently subpar inflation to a darkened global outlook.

It will be the Fed's first rate cut since December 2008 in the depths of the Great Recession.

Most analysts expect the Fed to announce a quarter-point cut in its benchmark short-term rate. That rate, which affects many consumer and business loans, is now in a range of 2.25% to 2.5% after nine quarter-point rates increases from December 2015 to December 2018.

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