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Treasury Holds Call With Fed and SEC on Virus-Fueled Volatility

Ben Bain

(Bloomberg) -- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held a call Tuesday with the leaders of the Federal Reserve, Securities and Exchange Commission and other financial agencies to discuss how markets are faring amid intense volatility spurred by the spread of coronavirus.

The call among the U.S.’s top financial regulators, known as the President’s Working Group on financial markets, came a day after U.S. stocks fell by the most since the 2008 financial crisis. Even after rebounding Tuesday, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has declined 11% this year largely on concern over how the coronavirus will impact global growth.

The regulators “shared updates on the resilience of the markets and the economic impact,” the Treasury Department said in a statement about the meeting. The statement didn’t provide specifics of what was discussed or list any actions that might be taken in response to wild price swings for stocks and other assets.

Joining Mnuchin on the call were Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, Fed Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles, New York Fed President John Williams, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Heath Tarbert, Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Jelena McWilliams.

Treasury said the Financial Stability Oversight Council -- a powerful panel of regulators set up after the 2008 meltdown to spot emerging economic threats -- will meet March 23 to discuss the market impact of coronavirus. FSOC includes the heads of a larger group of agencies and meets more regularly than the President’s Working Group.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Bain in Washington at bbain2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jesse Westbrook at jwestbrook1@bloomberg.net, Gregory Mott

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