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Financials

RPT-Australia c.bank embarks on QE, cuts rates to record lows

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SYDNEY, March 19 (Reuters) - Australia’s central bank cut interest rates for a second time this month on Thursday after an out-of-schedule policy meeting and made a foray into quantitative easing for the first time to help blunt the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) reduced its cash rate to an all-time low of 0.25% and said the board would not tighten policy until it achieves its employment and inflation goals.

It also set a target for the yield on 3-year Australian government bonds of around 0.25%, which it plans to achieve by purchases in the secondary market beginning Friday.

The announcement follows an unprecedented and large step up in global coordination by central banks, governments and regulators since the start of this week to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus.

The U.S. Federal Reserve on Sunday slashed key rates by 100 basis points, boosted asset purchases and has flushed the system with liquidity. A number of other major central banks have since followed suit. (Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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