US Fed staff 'called recession' last month

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The Independent Online

The staff of the Federal Reserve were privately predicting that the US was already in a recession when members of the Federal Open Market Committee slashed interest rates by three quarters of a percentage point on 18 March. The minutes of the meeting, released yesterday, revealed that the Fed's internal forecasters and some FOMC members were more pessimistic than had been admitted by Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman. Last week he conceded that a recession was "possible". Some members of the FOMC argued a "prolonged and severe economic downturn" could not be ruled out.