ECB boss Lagarde announces €750 billion coronavirus fund

Published by Scott Challinor on March 19th 2020, 8:08am

The European Central Bank [ECB] has dedicated a €750 billion [£700 billion; $820 billion] emergency fund to help mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Bank’s new Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme will see it take on government and company debt in the eurozone.

The news comes after the ECB’s governing council convened in a telephone meeting on Wednesday evening.

Announcing the move on Twitter, the bank’s chief, Christine Lagarde, said that its commitment to the euro had “no limits”.

Lagarde tweeted: “Extraordinary times require extraordinary action. There are no limits to our commitment to the euro. We are determined to use the full potential of our tools, within our mandate”.

In its statement, the ECB said the programme will be a temporary measure, but will only end when it deems the “Covid-19 crisis phase” to be “over”, but “in any case not before the end of the year”.

The ECB had come under fire for not taking decisive enough action to ease market strain and support the eurozone, while the US Federal Reserve cut interest rates to almost nought and dedicated a $700 billion [£604 billion] package to stimulate the economy.

The UK, Japan, Canada, Switzerland and the eurozone all co-ordinated in their response to help stimulate global liquidity.

The US Federal Reserve also said it would collaborate with central banks elsewhere to render the dollar more readily available for commercial banks.

Outgoing Bank of England governor Mark Carney made a joint statement with his successor, Andrew Bailey, on Monday, saying: "Today's coordinated action by major central banks will improve global liquidity by lowering the price and extending the maximum term of US dollar lending operations”.

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Authored By

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
March 19th 2020, 8:08am

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