US Fed cuts interest rates to battle virus

The US Federal Reserve has cut interest rates in an emergency move designed to shield the world's largest economy from the impact of the coronavirus.

In a statement, the central bank said it was cutting rates by a half percentage point to a target range of 1.00 per cent to 1.25 per cent.

"The fundamentals of the US economy remain strong. However, the coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity," the Fed said a statement.

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."

The decision was unanimous among policymakers.

The Fed's decision to cut interest rates before its next scheduled policy meeting on March 17-18 reflects the urgency with which the Fed feels it needs to act in order to prevent the possibility of a global recession.