Bank of England cuts rates to 0.1%, ramps up bond-buying

The Bank of England has shocked markets with a second emergency rate cut in just over a week.

On Thursday (March 19) the UK central bank reduced its benchmark rate to just 0.1%.

It also ramped up its bond-buying program, adding another 200 billion pounds - or about $233 billion.

Most of that will be used to buy British government debt.

The moves were unanimously supported by the bank's Monetary Policy Committee.

They come as authorities around the world try to calm tumbling asset markets.

Late Wednesday (March 18) the European Central Bank said it would buy up to 1.1 trillion euros of bonds this year.

London's FTSE 100 stock index rose about 0.4 percent in the minutes following the UK rate increase.

Sterling jumped about half a percent against the dollar.

All this comes during Andrew Bailey's first week as governor of the Bank of England.

Right now there's little sign his second week will be any easier.