Fed cut rates to near zero, Bank of Japan starts emergency meeting

Fed cut rates to near zero, Bank of Japan starts emergency meeting

13:02 | 16/03/2020
The US Federal Reserve (Fed) cut its benchmark interest rate to near zero while the Bank of Japan has called an emergency meeting to discuss policy.

Fed cut its benchmark interest rate today to near zero and unleashed an aggressive set of additional moves aimed at stabilising markets as the COVID-19 outbreak pushed the US economy towards a recession.

Accordingly, the Fed would cut the federal-funds rate to 0-0.25 per cent, down 1 percentage point, and would buy $700 billion in treasury and mortgage-backed securities, among other actions, Wall Street Journal reported.

fed cut rates to near zero bank of japan starts emergency meeting
The Fed cut its benchmark interest rate to near zero as of March 16

Earlier this month, the Fed executed an emergency rate cut of 0.5 percentage point, a move reflecting growing fears that the pandemic is increasing the risk of recession for global economies.

Elsewhere, Bank of Japan (BOJ) has just announced that it would bring its policy meeting forward from Thursday this week as part of concerted efforts worldwide to shore up the global economy.

G-7 finance ministers will hold an emergency telephone conference at noon today (Tokyo time) to discuss the spread of the virus. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Nikkei Asian Review, "We want to overcome these difficult times by working together."

Other Asian markets also got off to a rough start on Monday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 1.7 per cent while Taiwan's benchmark declined more than 1 per cent. The Singapore index dropped further into negative territory, with the Straits Times index falling over 2 per cent.

Meanwhile, mainland China's benchmark was down 0.25 per cent and South Korea was down 1 per cent.

fed cut rates to near zero bank of japan starts emergency meeting
The State Bank of Vietnam directed banks to provide extra support to businesses impacted by COVID-19

In Vietnam, the State Bank of Vietnam has recently asked banks to provide extra support such as extending loans with the intention of cushioning cash-squeezed businesses.

The SBV also allocated a credit support programme worth VND250 trillion ($10.87 billion) to be rolled out by more than 10 local banks.

By Minh Luu

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