Bangko Sentral slashes interest rates further to buoy economy


Posted at Apr 16 2020 01:44 PM | Updated as of Apr 16 2020 02:41 PM

A woman walks past a mural with message “STAY HOME, SAVE LIVES” in UP Balara, Quezon City on April 11, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Thursday it cut the benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points, the latest in a raft of policy actions to keep the economy afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was the second 50-basis point reduction in the overnight borrowing rate in as many months. The rate used by banks to price their loans now stands at 2.75 percent.

"Each of the rate cuts this year were designed to make borrowing money cheaper, to ensure the public and private sector will have no problem financing the fight to contain COVID-19, as well as all other basic needs during the health crisis," the BSP said in a statement.

The BSP earlier said it would deploy its full arsenal to revive the economy, which is at a standstill due to the Luzon lockdown that is scheduled to last until April 30.

The reserve requirement ratio for banks has been cut by 8 points to 12 percent since BSP Gov. Benjamin Diokno assumed office in March last year, injecting some P80 billion in liquidity into the system.

The BSP also purchased P300 billion in government securities during the lockdown period.