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Hong Kong Cuts Key Rate; Lowers Countercyclical Capital Buffer

Hong Kong's central bank reduced its benchmark rate by 64 basis points on Monday and reduced the countercyclical capital buffer to increase funds available for lending.

Following the 100-basis point reduction in the US Federal Reserve's interest rate, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority adjusted the base rate to 0.86 percent. This was the second reduction this year.

The central bank also reduced the countercyclical capital buffer to 1.0 percent from 2.0 percent, with immediate effect.

Eddie Yue, chief executive of the HKMA, said lowering the countercyclical capital buffer at this juncture will allow banks to be more supportive to the domestic economy, in particular those sectors and individuals that are expected to experience additional short-term stress due to the impact arising from the outbreak.

He said the central bank will continue to remain vigilant and closely monitor the markets in collaboration with other regulators.

The US Federal Reserve together with other five central bank, on Sunday, decided to provide monetary stimulus to the world economy by boosting liquidity amid a global financial market crash as the coronavirus, or Covid-19, raised fears of a severe global recession.

The Fed also launched a new round of quantitative easing worth $700 billion.

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