Nov. 6 Has Added Meaning As Key Interest Rate Stays The Same

By John S. McClenahen Nov. 6, 2002, has the potential to be a very significant day for the U.S. Presumably on that day most of the results of Nov. 5's mid-term elections will be known and the political power balance decided for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. And by the end of the day, the nation will know whether Chairman Alan Greenspan and his colleagues on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) have chosen to lower short-term interest rates to stimulate a more recognizable economic recovery from the 2001 U.S. recession. On Sept. 24, the last scheduled FOMC meeting before Nov. 6, a 10-person majority of the 12-member panel opted to leave the influential federal funds rate target at 1.75%. And they continued to signal that they are ready to give the economy a monetary boost. "For the foreseeable future . . . the risks are weighted mainly toward conditions that may generate economic weakness," the majority said in a statement. "Considerable uncertainty persists about the extent and timing of the expected pickup in production and employment, owing in part to the emergence of heightened geopolitical risks." In other words, Iraq is both a military and an economic wild card.

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