While the U.S. economy started the year in good shape, the coronavirus has raised questions about global growth, including the potential for spillovers affecting the U.S.

Participants expected growth to continue at a moderate pace, supported by accommodative monetary and financial conditions. “In addition, some trade uncertainties had diminished recently, and there were some signs of stabilization in global growth. Nonetheless, uncertainties about the outlook remained, including those posed by the outbreak of the coronavirus,” the minutes said.

Officials saw consumption spending as likely to remain on a firm footing, “supported by strong labor market conditions, rising incomes, and healthy household balance sheets.”

Powell told lawmakers in semi-annual testimony last week “it's too uncertain to even speculate’’ on how the outbreak would impact the economy or if it could present a “material change’’ to the outlook, though he said the impact on China should be “substantial.’’

U.S. central bankers are purchasing Treasury bills at a pace of $60 billion per month to boost reserve balances and plan to continue the operation into the second quarter. They are also conducting term and overnight repurchase agreements at least through April to offset seasonal demands for payments and cash.

The minutes said the term repo operations could be phased out after April.

--With assistance from Jordan Yadoo and Christopher Condon.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.

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