Top Central Banks Join to Calm Global Financial Crisis

Europe's major central banks banded together with their counterparts in Japan, the U.S. and Canada on Thursday to inject more U.S. dollars into global money markets in a bid to stave off the growing global financial crisis.

The European Central Bank said that it had joined with the Federal Reserve, the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and the Swiss National Bank to pump more dollars into the financial system.

Credit markets have tightened since Monday after the weekend collapse of investment house Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., and central banks already injected billions Monday and Tuesday in hopes of turning the tide and to keep banks from hoarding cash.

"These measures, together with other actions taken in the last few days by individual central banks, are designed to improve the liquidity conditions in global financial markets," the ECB, which oversees the 15-nation euro zone, said in a statement. "The central banks continue to work together closely and will take appropriate steps to address the ongoing pressures."

The ECB plans to provide as much as $40 billion to cash-starved banks, money that is being provided to it by the Federal Reserve through a swap line. The bank is also going to increase a 28-day tender operation the to $25 billion and an 84-day tender to US$15 billion.

"Overall, the dollar funding operations conducted by the Eurosystem could reach an outstanding amount of $110 billion," the ECB said in a statement.

The Bank of England said it would inject $40 billion as part of the coordinated effort. So far, the London-based bank has provided a total of 25 billion pounds ($44.8 billion) to markets since Monday.

The Swiss National Bank planned to auction up to $10 billion in a one-day tender.

In Tokyo, the Bank of Japan said Thursday it has also concluded a U.S. dollar swap agreement worth $60 billion with the Federal Reserve to supply U.S. dollar funds to market participants in Japan. "The bank will continue to strive to maintain market stability through money market operations," it said in a statement.

The Bank of Canada said it had agreed on a $10 billion swap facility, or reciprocal currency arrangement, with the Fed, to provide dollar liquidity in Canada.

In Washington, the Fed has pumped $70 billion into the nation's financial system to help ease credit stresses. In emergency sessions over the weekend, the Fed expanded its loan programs to Wall Street firms, part of an ongoing effort to get credit flowing more freely. On Wednesday, the U.S. Treasury Department said that in an effort to help the Fed deal with unprecedented borrowing needs resulting from the current credit crisis, it will begin auctioning debt for the central bank.