June 15, 2020 / 7:31 AM / in a month

POLL-Taiwan c.bank likely to cut rates again as virus knocks growth

* For poll data click: reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=cpurl://apps.cp./Apps/cb-polls?RIC=TWINTR%3DECI

* Rates likely to be cut again, majority of economists polled say

* Median forecast sees discount rate cut to new low of 1%

* Rate decision Thursday, June 18, after 4:00 p.m. (0800 GMT)

TAIPEI, June 15 (Reuters) - Taiwan’s central bank is expected to cut its policy rate for the second time this year to reduce the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its export-reliant economy.

The cut would follow a rush by global central banks to loosen settings as policymakers scramble to shore up growth and financial stability due to crumbling investor sentiment.

The majority of 16 economists in a Reuters poll said they expected the central bank to cut the benchmark discount rate , currently at 1.125%, to a new low.

Seven economists predicted the central bank would cut rates to 1%, and four to 0.875%, while five economists predicted no change.

The expected move would be the second policy change this year. In March, the central bank cut the discount rate by 25 basis points to a historic low, and for the first time in more than four years.

Central bank governor Yang Chin-long said last month there was further room to cut rates.

Taiwan, whose largest trading partner is China, is expected to post its slowest economic growth in five years in 2020, just 1.67%, the statistics agency said last month, as the coronavirus crisis battered trade, consumer spending and the job market.

The island’s manufacturers are a key part of the global supply chain for technology giants such as Apple Inc and some have been hit by factory disruptions in China as well as slowing electronics demand as lockdowns around the world hit demand.

The government is rolling out a T$1.05 trillion ($35.40 billion) stimulus package to help soften the impact of the virus on the economy, even as Taiwan has largely shaken off the pandemic with just five active coronavirus cases. ($1 = 29.6590 Taiwan dollars) (Poll compiled by Carol Lee and Liang-sa Loh; Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Yimou Lee; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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