The Federal Reserve’s surprise decision to slash interest rates yesterday by half a point was the biggest one-day move since 2008, and it came on a day when the Fed wasn’t even supposed to meet. The Fed has only cut rates by a half-point or more four other times in this century:
October 8, 2008: 0.5 points
The Fed struggled to contain the market chaos that followed the implosion of Lehman Brothers a few weeks earlier.
January 22, 2008: 0.75 points
A week ahead of their regularly scheduled meeting, the Fed announced its deepest rate cut in 24 years, in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to head off the coming recession.
September 17, 2001: 0.5 points
The Fed cut rates just before markets reopened in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, in an attempt to bolster investor confidence.
April 18, 2001: 0.5 points
A year after the dot-com bubble burst, the Fed tried to hold off another coming recession, but it turned out the economy had already begun contracting.