India Central Bank Cuts Rate to 4.4%

NEW DELHI (AP) -- India's central bank on Friday cut its key interest rate by a sizable 75 basis points to 4.4% from 5.15% to ease financing troubles caused by the coronavirus outbreak and help revive the economy.

That's the lowest benchmark rate the Reserve Bank of India has charged on lending to commercial banks, its so-called "repo rate," since March 2010.

The announcement by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das came a day after India's finance ministry announced a 1.7 trillion ($22 billion) economic stimulus package. The package included delivering grains and lentil rations for three months to 800 million people, some 60% of the world's second-most populous country.

The RBI held a monetary policy committee meeting nearly a week early to cope with the disruptions to the economy due to a three-week lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.

The RBI will also allow banks a 3-month moratorium on payments of installments on loans.