The Bank of Canada cut its trend-setting interest rate by half a percentage point to 0.75 per cent from 1.25 per cent in a surprise move on Friday aimed at softening the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak and plummeting oil prices.

“It is clear that the spread of the coronavirus is having serious consequences for Canadian families, and for Canada’s economy,” the central bank said in a statement.

In addition, the bank said, low oil prices will “weigh heavily” on growth, especially in energy-heavy regions.

This is the second interest rate cut for Canada since March 4, when the bank implemented a first cut of half a percentage point.

On Friday, the central bank acted outside of its regular dates for rate announcements. It said it would provide a full update of its outlook for the Canadian and global economies at its scheduled meeting on April 15.

More to come.

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