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In retrospect, the Fed’s interest-rate decision worked out, because the pandemic has turned conventional monetary policy on its head. Analysts said the Fed put the economy in a better position to handle the unique coronavirus fallout and, at least so far, there’s been little downside because the central bank expanded its use of unconventional stimulus measures.

“Everyone had pretty much concluded that the Fed had very little wiggle room to handle the next crisis, and they’ve surprised and stunned us by coming up with a whole new arsenal,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at the accounting and advisory firm Grant Thornton and a close follower of the Fed.

The benchmark federal funds rate, which lenders use to determine interest rates for credit

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