World's leading central bankers are poised to take measures to maintain liquidity in global credit markets should a crunch arise following Greek elections this weekend, media reports suggested on Thursday, citing an official from the G-20.
The emergency plans were confirmed by other G-20 officials as well, who will hold a summit in Mexico beginning June 18.
Investors want global leaders to take action on reviving economic growth, Institute of International Finance Managing Director Charles Dallara said in a letter yesterday to leaders attending the G-20 summit.
He said that world markets will be looking expectantly for evidence of a globally coordinated policy response targeted to revive growth prospects.
Meanwhile, the Bank of England (BOE) Governor Mervyn King said on Thursday that the UK central bank will activate a sterling liquidity facility to aid banks, and plans to have a form of credit easing operating to boost lending as the case for looser policy is growing.
The BOE will start holding auctions of sterling liquidity with a maturity of six months.
King said that the BOE's latest measures were prompted by a rapidly deteriorating UK economic outlook.
UK's Chancellor George Osborne said that the BOE will activate an emergency lending program and that the British Treasury would provide cheap funds to banks if they boost lending to households and companies.
Separately on Friday, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) on Friday left its benchmark interest rate unchanged near zero and also refrained from announcing any fresh monetary stimulus, as it stays on the sidelines ahead of the weekend elections in Greece.
The Japanese central bank kept its asset-purchase fund at 40 trillion yen (US$507 billion) and a credit lending program at 30 trillion yen, matching the forecasts of economists. The BOJ also kept the amount of monthly bond purchases at 1.8 trillion yen.
The decisions were unanimous at the policy-setting board of the central bank, and in line with market expectations.
US stocks were buoyed yesterday after jobless claims and inflation data supported the case for more stimulus by the Federal Reserve, which meets for two days from June 19. The FOMC, the policy-setting arm of the US central bank, meets on Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington.
The US central bank will either launch a third round of bond purchases, known as quantitative easing round three (QE3), or extend its current policy of Operation Twist, which is set to expire at the end of June.
The outcome of Sunday elections in Greece is likely to determine whether it remains in the euro or not. Greece could become the first member to do so.
Almost 10mn Greeks will vote for the second time in six weeks after a May 6 ballot failed to deliver a government. The constitution permits a third election too. The final polls, published on June 1, showed no clear trend.
Polls are not allowed in Greece in the last two weeks leading up to an election, but secret polls reportedly point to a victory for pro-austerity party New Democracy. If the anti-austerity party Syriza gathers enough votes to form a government, it could potentially lead to a fallout with the EU over the country's bailout terms.
Greece could exit the eurozone within weeks or months if the far-left party Syriza - the second largest party in Greece - wins the election on Sunday and forms a coalition, according to some experts.
Standard & Poor’s said on June 4 that the chance of Greece leaving the euro area in coming months was one-in-three.