HONG KONG:Australia announced a $26.5 billion stimulus plan and a deep interest rate cut on Tuesday as the Japanese central bank said it would start buying shares held by financial institutions to try to ease the burden on lenders in efforts to shield their economies from the worsening downturn.
The announcements followed a flurry of economic data, job cuts and profit warnings in recent weeks that have shown the region is slowing faster than had been expected as demand in the United States and Europe withers.
Related article: Australia launches massive stimulus package (AFP):
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the massive stimulus package was aimed at nation building and supporting up to 90,000 jobs “in the face of the unfolding national and international economic emergency.”
“The weight of the global recession is now bearing down on the Australian economy,” said Wayne Swan, Australia’s treasurer, in a statement accompanying the stimulus announcement. “In the midst of this global recession it would be irresponsible not to act swiftly and decisively to support jobs.”