Coronavirus: Asian stock markets, U.S. futures fall after Federal Reserve rate cut

Asian stock markets and U.S. futures fell Monday after the Federal Reserve slashed its key interest rate to shore up economic growth in the face of mounting global anti-virus controls that are shutting down business and travel.

Sydney’s benchmark plunged 9.7 per cent, Hong Kong‘s Hang Seng lost 3.4 per cent and India opened down 4.9 per cent. Shanghai lost 2 per cent. Brent crude, the international oil standard, fell nearly 4 per cent while gold gained.

Japan‘s Nikkei 225 index sank 3 per cent after initial trading higher ahead of a decision by the Bank of Japan on emergency action to help counter recession.

The central bank’s decision to expand purchases of stocks, corporate bonds and other assets viewed as riskier than Japanese government bonds fell flat. The BOJ also announced plans to provide up to 8 trillion yen ($75 billion) in 0 per cent, one-year loans to companies facing cash crunches due to the impact of the crisis.

On Wall Street, futures for the benchmark S&P 500 index fell 5 per cent on Sunday night and triggered a halt in trading.

The Fed cut its key rate by a full percentage point — to a range between zero and 0.25 per cent — and said it would stay there until it feels confident the economy can survive a near-shutdown of activity in the United States.

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