Fallout: The Financial Crisis

Central banks respond to Fed rate cut

Stephen Beard Dec 17, 2008
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Fallout: The Financial Crisis

Central banks respond to Fed rate cut

Stephen Beard Dec 17, 2008
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Scott Jagow: I think you need a microscope to see the Federal Reserve’s target interest rate this morning. It’s between zero and a quarter of a percent. Today, several central banks around the world followed the Fed’s move yesterday with cuts of their own — Hong Kong, Kuwait, Norway. Everybody’s trying to pry open the credit market with historically low interest rates.

Let’s bring in our European correspondent, Stephen Beard. Stephen, you’ve been talking to people, any signs out there that this strategy is working?

Stephen Beard: Well, the rate of which banks will lend and borrow dollars between themselves, that has come down this morning, but not by enough to indicate the credit crunch is over. Credit is still very tight — there is still a substantial gap between zero and the 1.5 percent that the banks are lending each other dollars. So there still remains that fear, there’s still that lack of trust and a terrific reluctance to lend.

Jagow: Well there’s no place else to go with interest rates, you can’t go beyond zero. So what are people saying might work at this point?

Beard: What people here are saying is the only thing that is likely to work now is for Obama to get into power and to really unleash the mother and father of all stimulus packages. They’re talking about a trillion dollars that he’s going to have to throw at the American economy. Then — coupled with these very low interest rates — then perhaps the U.S. and then the global economy will begin to recover.

Jagow: I’m sure the taxpayers are happy to hear that, Stephen.

Beard: Indeed

Jagow: All right, Stephen Beard in London. Thank you.

Beard: OK, Scott.

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