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Fed cuts interest rates to near zero, coordinates with other central banks to combat coronavirus

WASHINGTON, March 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the second time in less than two weeks on Sunday in another emergency move to help shore up the U.S. economy amid the rapidly escalating global coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, the central bank said it was cutting rates by to a target range of 0% to 0.25%.

"The effects of the coronavirus will weigh on economic activity in the near term and pose risks to the economic outlook. In light of these developments, the Committee decided to lower the target range," the Fed said in a statement.

"The Committee expects to maintain this target range until it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events and is on track to achieve its maximum employment and price stability goals," the Fed said.

The Fed already cut interest rates by half a percentage point on March 3 at an emergency meeting, the first rate cut outside of a regularly scheduled policy meeting since the financial crisis in 2008.

Policymakers were not due to hold their next interest-rate setting meeting until March 17-18. (Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir Editing by Nick Zieminski)