Reserve Bank of Australia decided to lower its key interest rates further to a record low and also to purchase government bonds, as the spread of covid-19 disrupts economic activity.
At the meeting on Thursday, the Reserve Bank Board headed by Philip Lowe, decided to reduce the cash rate by 25 basis points to 0.25 percent.
The bank will purchase government bonds in the secondary market and keep the yield on 3-year bonds at around 0.25 percent.
In order to support credit supply to small and medium-sized businesses, the RBA will provide a three-year funding facility to authorized deposit-taking institutions at a fixed rate of 0.25 percent.
Further, exchange settlement balances at the Reserve Bank will be remunerated at 10 basis points, rather than zero.
The bank will also continue its one-month and three-month repo operations in its daily market operations until further notice. In addition, the RBA will conduct longer-term repo operations of six-month maturity or longer at least weekly, as long as market conditions warrant.
Japan Manufacturing Sinks To 44.8 In March - Nikkei
The manufacturing sector in Japan continued to contract, and at a faster pace, the latest survey from Nikkei revealed on Tuesday with a preliminary manufacturing PMI score of 44.8.
That's down from 47.8 in February, and it moves further beneath the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.
The services PMI from Jibun Bank was even more troubling as it plummeted all the way down to 32.7 in March from 46.8 in February - largely reflecting the chaos wrought by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
That dragged the composite PMI down to 35.8 from 47.0 a month earlier.
Among the individual components, output, new orders, new export orders, backlogs, stocks of purchases and quantities of purchases all saw stronger rates of decline. Employment fell into contraction after expanding in the previous month.
Malaysia's consumer price inflation slowed in February, figures from the Department of Statistics showed on Wednesday.
The consumer price index rose 1.3 percent year-on-year in February, after a 1.6 percent increase in January. Economists had expected a 1.4 percent rise.
Among the main groups, prices for miscellaneous goods and services grew 2.5 percent annually in February. Prices for transport rose 2.4 percent and those of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, and communication increased 1.6 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.
On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices remained unchanged in February.
The core CPI rose 1.3 percent annually in February.
European Economics Preview: Bank Of England Rate Decision Due
The interest rate announcement from the Bank of England is due on Thursday, headlining a busy day for the European economic news.
At 3.00 am ET, the Office for National Statistics releases UK retail sales data for February. Economists forecast sales to grow 0.2 percent on month, following a 0.9 percent increase in January.
Also, Germany Gfk consumer confidence survey data is due. The forward-looking consumer sentiment index is seen at 7.1 in April versus 9.8 in March.
At 4.00 am ET, the Swedish National Institute of Economic Research is set to issue economic tendency survey data.
Half an hour later, Sweden foreign trade data is due from Statistics Sweden.
At 5.00 am ET, the European Central Bank is set to issue economic bulletin and money supply data. Economists forecast euro area M3 growth to remain unchanged at 5.2 percent in February.
At 8.00 am ET, the Bank of England publishes the outcome of the monetary policy meeting. Economists expect the bank to retain its record low interest rate and to expand asset purchase programme to GBP 635 billion from GBP 435 billion.
In the meantime, the Czech National bank announces its monetary policy decision. The two-week repo rate is likely to be lowered to 1.25 percent from 1.75 percent.
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