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Speaking at an event in Michigan early Thursday, the former Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairwoman Janet Yellen warned that the coronavirus outbreak could likely steer the US economy towards a recession.

Key quotes

“We could see a significant impact on Europe, which has been weak to start with, and it’s just conceivable that it could throw the United States into a recession.”

“If it doesn’t hit in a substantial way in the United States, that’s less likely. We had a pretty solid outlook before this happened — and there is some risk, but basically I think the US.”

“The decline in the 10-year Treasury yield this week to historic lows. Yields have plunged as fears about the spreading coronavirus have rocked global financial markets.”

“Market participants will look to the Fed to provide some support.”

“In most developed countries, interest rates are really low — and they are very low in the United States, but higher than they are in most other developed economies. And the Fed does have some scope — it’s not a cure-all. But it will provide a little bit of support to consumer spending and to the U.S. economy and for financial markets. And, of course, if it becomes very serious, fiscal policy could play a more active role too.”