IMF's $50B coronavirus program to boost emerging markets

Money will pay for healthcare resources for poorer nations

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva at a meeting in Washington, D.C., in October..

The International Monetary Fund has made $50 billion available to low-income and emerging market countries to help them withstand the new coronavirus.

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The funds, $10 billion of which are available at zero interest for the poorest nations, will give countries the funds necessary to “build stronger health systems and protect their population” as well as bail out the most-impacted businesses, Kristalina Georgieva, managing director at the IMF, told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Friday.

The fund, set up in 1945, to regulate global currency-exchange rates, works to head off financial crises and extends short-term loans to member nations.

“What we are targeting to do is to provide a financial boost,” especially to poor countries, Georgieva said.

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It's too early to tell whether COVID-19 will lead to a global recession, she added. More than 95,000 people worldwide have contracted the disease, and it has killed more than 3,200, hammering financial markets as consumer spending slows while healthcare workers focus on developing an effective treatment.

The Federal Reserve slashed its benchmark federal funds rate by 50 basis points this week to insulate the U.S. economy from the fallout.

“How far the slowdown would be, how deep it may be, depends on two things," she said. "It depends on the epidemic, but it also depends on the strength of our actions."

This story is developing. Check back for updates.