By EDMUND L. ANDREWS
Published: December 16, 2008
WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve entered a new era on Tuesday, setting its benchmark interest rate so low that it will have to reach for new and untested tools in fighting both the recession and downward pressure on consumer prices.
Going further than analysts anticipated, the central bank cut its target for the overnight federal funds rate to a range of 0 to 0.25 percent, a record low, virtually bringing the United States to the zero-rate policies that Japan used for six years in its own fight against deflation
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