The President of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde told EU leaders Europe could experience huge economic problems, similar to the 2008 crisis, unless urgent action is taken as the COVID-19 virus spreads.
In a statement, the ECB said the coronavirus outbreak was a fast-developing situation creating risks for the economic outlook and the functioning of financial markets.
The ECB is closely monitoring developments and their implications for the economy, medium-term inflation and the transmission of its monetary policy. “We stand ready to take appropriate and targeted measures, as necessary and commensurate with the underlying risks,” it said.
The Bank of England has cut interest rates in its first emergency move since the financial crisis. It also unveiled measures to help keep credit flowing and warned that the COVID-19 outbreak will impact growth.
In Italy, the authorities plan to launch measures aimed at offering breaks from debt payments, including mortgages. Deputy Finance Minister Laura Castelli said the aim was to inject money into companies and ease family debt burdens.