UK fights euro zone threat with $155 billion credit boost
By Matt Falloon and Sven Egenter
LONDON (Reuters) - The government and central bank will flood Britain's banking system with more than 100 billion pounds ($155.43 billion), seeking to pump credit through an economy struggling to escape recession under the "black cloud" of the euro zone crisis.
In his annual Mansion House policy speech to London financiers on Thursday, Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said Britain would launch a scheme to provide cheap long-term funding to banks to encourage them to lend to businesses and consumers.
He also said the bank would activate an emergency liquidity tool.
Treasury officials said the government plan could support an estimated 80 billion pounds in new loans, while the central bank's separate scheme will provide monthly 5 billion pound tranches of six-month liquidity to banks.
King said the case for pumping more money into the economy via further purchases of government bonds had increased as the outlook for the economy had worsened, although he again rejected calls for the central bank to buy private assets.
King said the euro zone's woes were leading to a crisis of confidence in Britain which was leading to a self-reinforcing weaker picture of growth.
"The black cloud has dampened animal spirits so that businesses and households are battening down the hatches to prepare for the storms ahead," he said.
Britain's action comes just before cliffhanger Greek elections this weekend that could determine the fate of the euro zone, as well as a meeting of the leaders of the world's major economies next week to find ways to tackle the currency bloc's crisis and spur the global economy. Continued...