March 13, 2020 / 6:28 PM / 18 days ago

Bank of Canada makes surprise 50-basis-point cut to overnight rate

OTTAWA, March 13 (Reuters) - The Bank of Canada unexpectedly cut its overnight rate by 50 basis points to 0.75% on Friday, its second half-point cut in nine days, and the government said it would offer C$10 billion ($7.2 billion) in credit support to businesses.

“It is clear that the spread of the coronavirus is having serious consequences for Canadian families, and for Canada’s economy,” the bank said in a statement. “In addition, lower prices for oil, even since our last scheduled rate decision on March 4, will weigh heavily on the economy, particularly in energy intensive regions.” ($1 = 1.3943 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Kelsey Johnson and David Ljunggren, writing by Steve Scherer)

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