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AFP
March 4, 2020

G7 ‘ready to take action’ to stem coronavirus risks

World

AFP
March 4, 2020

PARIS: Top officials from the Group of Seven nations vowed Tuesday to use "all appropriate policy tools" to prevent the coronavirus crisis from damaging the global economy, but held back on unveiling specific relief measures for now.

The G7 finance ministers and central bank chiefs held an emergency conference call as concerns grew that the spreading epidemic could imperil growth and possible drive some countries into a recession.

"G7 finance ministers are ready to take actions, including fiscal measures where appropriate, to aid in the response to the virus and support the economy during this phase," the group said after the talks. Central bankers from the world´s most advanced economies -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States -- will also ensure "price stability and economic growth while maintaining the resilience of the financial system," it said.

Companies worldwide have been buffeted by actions taken by governments to stem the outbreak of coronavirus infections since they emerged in China, where entire cities have been locked down and factories shut. Fears that the crisis will deepen sent equity markets into a tailspin last week, though indices have recovered this week on expectations that officials would take action, such as cutting interest rates or providing emergency financing.

Yet no details of potential actions were released in the G7´s statement. "This is a disappointment compared to previous hopes of an immediate and coordinated fiscal package and interest rate cuts," said Jennifer McKeown, an economist at Capital Economics in London.