Mnuchin says supports Fed on rate cut move, says it's 'non-political'

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin waits to testify before a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the President's FY2021 Budget on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 12, 2020. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday said he supports the Federal Reserve’s decision to cut interest rates in response to the fast-spreading coronavirus, its first emergency rate cut since 2008 at the height of the financial crisis.

Mnuchin, testifying before the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, applauded what he called a ‘non-political’ decision by the Fed.

He said the outbreak was evolving rapidly and cited a big difference in conversations among policymakers even compared to a meeting of G20 finance officials in Riyadh on Feb. 22-23. The outbreak would have a short-term impact on the economy, but the situation was different from the 2008 financial crisis, he said.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama