WASHINGTON — Six months ago the world's major central banks were primed for a move that anyone with a credit card or hoping to buy a home or run a business would cheer: A global shift to lower interest rates that would make borrowing cheaper and loans more available across the board.

Rate cuts are "a topic of discussion out in the world and also a discussion for us," Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in a press conference last December, when the mood among investors was giddy over the prospect of looser financial conditions, and organizations like the International Monetary Fund worried that Powell and company would jump the gun, cut rates too fast, and undermine efforts to tame inflation.

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