Pakistan Cuts Rate in Surprise Move to Shield Economy From Virus


(Bloomberg) -- Pakistan’s central bank cut its benchmark rate in an unscheduled meeting as authorities boosted efforts to fight the economic impact of the new coronavirus outbreak.

The State Bank of Pakistan cut its key rate to 11% from 12.5%, according to a statement. The move is the second since March 17, when the key rate was lowered by 75 basis points.

Global central banks have stepped up measures to bolster their economies that are staring at a sharp slowdown as a result of the virus pandemic. The State Bank of Pakistan’s move complements Prime Minister Imran Khan’s more than $2.5 billion fiscal stimulus unveiled Tuesday to support workers, exporters and small industries, among others.

More than 900 people have been infected and seven have died because of the virus, which has led to a near complete lockdown of Pakistan.

The government also announced lowering domestic fuel prices by 15 rupees a liter.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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