ECB's Holzmann sees no need for rate cut to combat coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: European Central Bank policymaker and Austrian National Bank (OeNB) Governor Robert Holzmann attends a news conference in Vienna, Austria December 2, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

VIENNA (Reuters) - European Central Bank policymaker Robert Holzmann said he would not support an interest rate cut to insulate the euro zone from the effects of the coronavirus epidemic but he could consider giving firms ultra cheap loans.

When asked if targeted loans to businesses were necessary, Holzmann, Austria’s central bank chief, said: “This is definitely an area which will be under consideration, but at the moment I don’t think there is an urgency to move there.”

ECB President Christine Lagarde on Monday said the bank was ready to take “appropriate and targeted” measures in proportion to the underlying risks.

Sources close to the discussion told Reuters earlier that the ECB was working on loans to help businesses, primarily small and medium sized enterprises. [nL8N2AW2OG]

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Writing by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Alison Williams