March 12, 2020 / 11:10 PM / 25 days ago

Chile central bank to expand currency intervention program as peso plummets

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile’s central bank said on Thursday it would expand an intervention program aimed at ensuring liquidity and stabilizing the peso as markets globally were routed and regional currencies plummeted over the worsening coronavirus outbreak.

The bank in November said it would sell as much as $20 billion in foreign currency interventions after the peso nose-dived amid riots over inequality in the South American nation.

That plan was initially slated to run through May 29, 2020, but the bank said in a statement Thursday that the “worsening financial condition of international markets” had prompted it to extend the program through January 2021.

The Chilean peso plunged again to an historic low on Thursday over coronavirus concerns. Chile’s main stock index .SPIPSA fell 5.9% to a four-year low.

The bank said it would re-initiate foreign currency interventions beginning Monday, March 16.

Reporting by Dave Sherwood; editing by Richard Pullin

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