March 5, 2020 / 11:05 AM / a month ago

BOJ may take steps to ease financial strain of virus-hit firms - sources

TOKYO, March 5 (Reuters) - The Bank of Japan may take steps this month to ensure companies hit by the coronavirus outbreak do not face a financial squeeze before the March end of the current fiscal year, according to sources familiar with the central bank’s thinking.

Such a step will ease any financial strain companies face amid slumping sales and help them close books for the current fiscal year, they said.

“One of the things central banks can do in a situation like this is to ensure there is ample liquidity, and help the money reach companies that are in need,” one of the sources said on condition of anonymity because the sensitivity of the matter.

“The idea could be among options up for debate” at the BOJ’s March 18-19 rate review, another source said, a view echoed by two more sources.

Discussions are still preliminary and no formal decision has been made with the next rate review nearly two weeks away. (Reporting by Leika Kihara and Takahiko Wada, editing by Larry King)

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