Central Banks Respond to COVID-19 to Stave off a Financial Crisis, They Need for Targeted Fiscal Measures Should not Be Understated
10 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2020
Date Written: March 27, 2020
Central Banks have cut interest rates to historic lows in an attempt to reduce the adverse impact of COVID-19, while unprecedented liquidity infusions have been used to reduce funding constraints and frictions in the financial market. Monetary policy will lessen the economic and financial fallout from the virus, policymakers should emphasise the need for targeted fiscal measures to complement accommodative monetary policy and central bank liquidity. These should culminate fiscal transfers, wage subsidies and a significant reduction in social security contributions for households. Nevertheless, central banks should begin stemming structural vulnerabilities in financial markets and ensure that liquidity infusions are a short-term measure designed to improve the transmissions of monetary policy rather than create financial market dependence, as has been the case since the financial crisis.
The Coronavirus or COVID-19 has caused the global economy to grow at a slower pace, government yields have tumbled and liquidity constraints have increased in financial markets across advanced economies. Prior to this, the United States and China were locked in a geopolitical, economic and technological rivalry that caused a synchronized cyclical slowdown as businesses to postpone investment decisions. This trend of slowing capital investments into productive sectors such as green technology and renewable energy saw productivity wane, and global woes were compounded by Brexit amidst sluggish growth in the single market. Following the signing of a phase one of the trade agreement and the USMCA, COVID-19 began to spread in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. Since then, the virus has spread to Italy, North America and Africa. In the meantime, global manufacturing supply chains for cosmetics, the auto sector, consumer and industrial products stalled, business and consumer sentiment plummeted in some advanced economies and the service sector spanning tourism, transportation, restaurants have been adversely affected by the virus. Central Banks can assess the impact of the Coronavirus from two standpoints.
Keywords: central banks, interest rates, COVID-19, coronavirus, financial impact, monetary policy, economic and financial fall outs, Brexit, slaugish growth
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