European central bank stimulus package amid coronavirus

French President-designate of the European Central Bank (ECB) Christine Lagarde reacts during a meeting prior’s to attend a European Parliament’s Committee on Economic Affairs at the EU Parliament, in Brussels, on September 4, 2019.

JOHN THYS | AFP | Getty Images

The European Central Bank decided Thursday not to cut interest rates, despite market expectations for a reduction amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

The central bank did announce measures to support bank lending, and expanded its quantitative easing (QE) program by 120 billion euros ($135.28 billion).

This is a breaking news story and will be updated shortly.

ECB President Christine Lagarde said earlier this month that the bank was “ready to take appropriate and targeted measures” to deal with the economic impact from the virus. 

The coronavirus, which began in China at the end of 2019, has spread worldwide. There are more than 127,000 confirmed cases globally, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Italy, one of the biggest economies in the euro area, has the highest number of cases outside China and has implemented a nationwide lockdown.

The ECB’s announcement comes after both the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England announced stimulus measures in response to the outbreak.

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