The U.S. Federal Reserve led a global round of emergency interest rate cuts on Wednesday to shore up confidence in markets shaken by the world financial crisis.
The Fed said it was cutting its key federal funds rate by 50 basis points to 1.5%.
“Inflationary pressures have started to moderate in a number of countries, partly reflecting a marked decline in energy and other commodity prices. Inflation expectations are diminishing and remain anchored to price stability,” the statement continued. “The recent intensification of the financial crisis has augmented the downside risks to growth and thus has diminished further the upside risks to price stability.”
The banks also said the intensification of the global financial crisis is “having a marked impact on all countries. In recent weeks conditions in global financial markets have deteriorated sharply, the U.S. economy has weakened further, and commodity prices have fallen abruptly.”
The ECB also cut by a half-point to 3.75% as did the Bank of England, taking its rate to 4.5%. Noting that “inflationary pressures have started to moderate in a number of countries, partly reflecting a marked decline in energy and other commodity prices,” the ECB said it had also reduced its other two key rates by the same amount.
The ECBs marginal lending rate was cut to 4.75% and the interest rate on the ECBs deposit facility fell to 2.75%. The Bank of Canada also cut rates 50 basis points to 2.50%.
The Bank of Japan said Wednesday it supported coordinated rate cuts by the worlds central banks but was not participating as its benchmark rate is already low.