Federal Reserve policymakers face an unusual conundrum as they meet this week: A short-term economic outlook that is worsening while the longer-term picture is brightening thanks to the emergence of coronavirus vaccinesBy CHRISTOPHER RUGABER AP Economics WriterDecember 14, 2020, 5:22 PM• 5 min readWASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve’s policymakers face an unusual conundrum as they meet this week: A short-term economic outlook that is worsening even while the longer-term picture is brightening thanks to the emergence of coronavirus vaccines.When its meeting concludes Wednesday, the Fed could announce steps to try to offset the pandemic’s increasing drag on growth. Or it could choose to mostly watch and wait, for now.The central bank’s policy meeting coincides with a record-shattering resurgence of the coronavirus, which has caused an increase in business restrictions and made more Americans reluctant to shop, travel and dine out. Some analysts say the economy could shrink in early 2021 before recovering as vaccines combat the virus.Economists are divided on whether the Fed will announce any new actions this week. One option the policymakers could take would be to announce a shift in the Fed’s bond purchases. The Fed has been buying $80 billion in Treasury bonds and $40 billion


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