Markets rally as world’s central banks infuse cash

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Economy and business
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Stock indexes around the globe reacted favorably after several national banks announced a joint effort to pump more money into the markets.

At 0800 UTC, the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the European Central Bank (ECB), the United States Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan, and the Swiss National Bank jointly announced that they would be working together to provide reciprocal credit arrangements to institutions facing a financial crush from the U.S. dollar. The credit arrangements, also known as “swap lines”, will be used to help short-term funding of smaller loan groups.

Totaling US$180 billion, the Federal Reserve arranged to increase existing swap lines with the European Central Bank from US$55 billion to US$110 billion, and with the Swiss National Bank from US$12 billion to US$27 billion. Additionally, it opened new swap lines with the Bank of Japan for up to US$60 billion, up to US$40 billion with the Bank of England, and up to US$10 billion with the Bank of Canada. These swap lines will be available until January 30, 2009.

In its press release, the Federal Reserve stated, “These measures, together with other actions taken in the last few days by individual central banks, are designed to improve the liquidity conditions in global financial markets. The central banks continue to work together closely and will take appropriate steps to address the ongoing pressures.”

In the first 90 minutes in the American stock markets, the Dow Jones surged nearly 200 points, the NASDAQ was up nearly nine points, and the S&P 500 was up nearly 15 points. Mid-day trading in the European markets saw the UK’s FTSE 100 was up 25 points, the DAX was up over 54 points, and the CAC 40 was up nearly 15 points. While Japan’s Nikkei index closed at a three-year low of 11,489.30 points, and the Hang Seng bottomed out at 16,283.72 points before closing at 17,849.97 points.

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The Russian markets continued to remain closed for a third day under orders of the Russian government. Russia announced that it would be infusing their own markets with an additional US$19.7 billion, half of which would come from the federal budget. Russia’s exchanges will re-open on Friday morning.

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