Mnuchin, Powell Lead G-7 Central Banks’ Virus Response

G-7 finance ministers and central bank governors will hold a conference call on Tuesday morning to discuss measures to deal with the widening coronavirus outbreak and its economic impact, a U.S. Treasury spokeswoman said on Monday.

The call, to be led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, comes as the world’s top three central banks look set to take steps to limit economic damage from the outbreak.

Bank of Japan Governor BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde both issued statements echoing Powell’s pledge last week to “act as appropriate” to support the economy.

French and Italian sources familiar with the G-7 arrangements said the finance leaders’ call is set for 7 a.m. EST, two and a half hours before U.S. stock markets open. The United States is chairing the G-7 group of wealthy industrial democracies this year.

The outbreak is plunging the world economy into its worst downturn since the global financial crisis more than 10 years ago, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned on Monday, urging governments and central banks to fight back to avoid an even steeper slump.

Shortly after Tuesday’s call, Mnuchin is due to testify before the House Ways and Means Committee on the Trump administration’s proposed 2021 budget. The Trump administration has asked Congress for an extra $2.5 billion in funding to fight the coronavirus.

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank said on Monday they stand ready to help member countries deal with the coronavirus outbreak, including through emergency funding.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Monday that G-7 countries will take “concerted action” to limit the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on economic growth and their finance ministers will discuss by phone this week how best to act.

Le Maire said on France 2 television that the impact from the coronavirus outbreak on French growth “will be much more significant” than his earlier predictions of it shaving 0.1 percentage point from 2020 output growth. He reiterated that the hotel, restaurant, air transport and event industries were the worst-hit sectors in France.

via newsmax

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