UPDATE 1-Mnuchin says no need for intervention in markets due to coronavirus

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WASHINGTON, March 11 (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said banking regulators are looking at various possible short-term regulatory actions in response to the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak, but he saw no need for intervention in financial markets.

“We see no need for any intervention in the markets,” Mnuchin told reporters after a U.S. House Appropriations Committee hearing, noting that the Federal Reserve had already put liquidity into the market.

“The Fed has already acted significantly in putting lots of liquidity into the market,” he said, adding that he was in daily contact with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

The Fed has already put more liquidity into the banking system by increasing its daily cash injections into short-term money markets to ensure an ample supply of bank reserves.

It also cut interest rates by half a percentage point last week in its first emergency rate move since the height of the 2008 financial crisis.

Mnuchin said he convened what he called “a regular call” of the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets on Tuesday. “It was intended to make sure we understood what was going on from all the regulators,” he told reporters.

Members of the working group, a subset of the Federal Stability Oversight Council, include Mnuchin, Powell, Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams, Securities and Exchange Chairman Jay Clayton and other regulatory officials.

The full council will hold an open meeting on March 23 to discuss the resilience of the markets and the economic impact of COVID-19, the medical acronym for the disease caused by the coronavirus. (Reporting by David Lawder, Lindsay Dunsmuir and Andrea Shalal Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)

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