UPDATE 1-Congo's central bank cuts interest rate in response to coronavirus

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DAKAR, March 24 (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo’s central bank has cut its base interest rate to 7.5% from 9% in order to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, it said on Tuesday.

The move followed similar actions by African central banks in countries like South Africa and Ghana as the virus spreads across the continent.

Officials in Congo expect the outbreak to hit their economy hard, given its heavy dependence on revenues from exports of copper and cobalt, the prices of which have slumped as the global health crisis continues.

Congo’s central bank said in a statement that it was also cutting mandatory reserve requirements and providing liquidity to banks.

Central banks around the world are cutting interest rates and turning to more creative measures to pump record sums of money into their economies to combat the impact of the coronavirus. (Reporting by Aaron Ross, Editing by Alessandra Prentice and Ed Osmond)