Mumbai– In a bid to insulate the world’s largest economy from the fast spreading Coronavirus, the US Federal Reserve has slashed US benchmark policy rates by 50 basis points on Tuesday.

It is the first unscheduled, emergency rate cut since the global financial crisis of 2008 and comes as novel coronavirus has hit the US too, killing six. The US benchmark policy rates now stands at 1 per cent to 1.25 per cent.

The Federal Reserve’s move comes after global markets logged their worst week since the 2008 global financial crisis and saw the US main index, Dow Jones falling over 1,000 points multiple times.

Fed’s statement on its website said: “The fundamentals of the US economy remain strong. However, the coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity.

“In light of these risks and in support of achieving its maximum employment and price stability goals, the Federal Open Market Committee decided today to lower the target range for the federal funds rate by 1/2 percentage point, to 1 to 1’1/4 percent.”

Besides, it said that the committee is closely monitoring developments and their implications for the economic outlook and will use its tools and act as appropriate to support the economy.

The Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday afternoon said that it is ready to take “appropriate actions’ to ensure the orderly functioning of financial markets.

In a statement, India’s apex bank said: “The RBI is monitoring global and domestic developments closely and continuously and stands ready to take appropriate actions to ensure the orderly functioning of financial markets, maintain market confidence and preserve financial stability.” (IANS)