Asian stock indexes soared in early trading today (Wednesday), following large gains Tuesday in New York and other stock markets.
Speculation that Japan's central bank might cut interest rates helped
push the Nikkei Index up more than seven percent. An announcement by
the U.S. central bank on interest rates is also expected later today.
Rate cuts reduce the cost of borrowing and can boost economic activity.
On Tuesday in New York, the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped nearly 11 percent and other U.S. indexes also gained.
The gains recovered some of the losses of previous trading sessions,
and follow a series of government efforts to bolster the battered
Britain's prime minister, Gordon Brown, said Tuesday a top priority is
to stop the global financial crisis from spreading to eastern Europe's
Mr. Brown says the International Monetary Fund should be strengthened as it tries to help world economies.
The British prime minister is calling on countries with substantial
reserves, such as China and oil-exporting nations, to contribute more
to the fund. He was in Paris Tuesday for economic talks with French
President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The IMF has been working to help several nations, including Ukraine, Iceland and Hungary.
On Tuesday, the IMF, along with the European Union and the World Bank,
announced a more than 25-billion-dollar economic rescue package for
Hungary. In a statement, the IMF said the proposed package could go to
its executive board for approval in early November.
A top IMF official (First Deputy Managing Director John Lipsky) says the fund has "record" levels of money, but might seek additional resources if the financial crisis continues.