New York: Group of Seven finance chiefs said they’re ready to act to shelter their economies from the spreading coronavirus, though they stopped short of spelling out what specific measures they would put into place.
“We, G-7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, are closely monitoring the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and its impact on markets and economic conditions,” the G-7’s finance ministers and central bankers said Tuesday in a statement following a rare conference call. “We reaffirm our commitment to use all appropriate policy tools to achieve strong, sustainable growth and safeguard against downside risks.”
Policymakers are under pressure to back up their recent pledges to shield markets and economies from the China-borne virus amid mounting warnings that its spread is propelling the world economy toward its worst year since the 2009 recession.
“G-7 finance ministers are ready to take actions, including fiscal measures where appropriate, to aid in the response to the virus and support the economy during this phase,” the statement said.
US stock futures retraced earlier gains on the news while US 10-year Treasury yields firmed slightly to around 1.13 per cent.
Fed funds futures are pricing about 45 basis points of rate easing by the end of March.
US President Donald Trump, a frequent critic of the Fed chairman that he appointed, tweeted again on Tuesday that the Fed was not lowering benchmark interest rates fast enough.
While Australia and Malaysia cut interest rates on Tuesday, investors are looking to the Federal Reserve and major counterparts to do the same, perhaps outside of their normal meeting schedule and in a coordinated fashion.
Money markets predict a high chance of a 50 basis-point cut from the Fed at or before its next meeting on March 17-18. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Friday promised to “act as appropriate” to support the US’s longest-ever expansion, a statement which helped cushion stocks after their worst week since 2008.
Traders are also betting on a 10 basis-point cut from the European Central Bank and 25 basis points at the Bank of England. They also reckon the Bank of Canada will ease monetary policy on Wednesday.