UPDATE 2-Bank of Canada says it will provide more liquidity for markets

(Adds details on liquidity measures and Canadian dollar)

OTTAWA, March 12 (Reuters) – The Bank of Canada on Thursday said it would provide more liquidity to ensure markets continue to operate smoothly amid increasing uncertainty sparked by the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement, the central bank said it would extend its bond buy back program across all benchmark maturity sectors and to at least weekly until further notice.

The program gives dealers the opportunity to exchange older bonds for newer, more liquid issues. The repurchases would typically be done no more than once a quarter and for 30-year bonds.

The first operation will be a C$500 million switch operation in the 30-year sector this coming Monday, the bank said.

It will also temporarily add new term repo operations with terms of six and 12 months, which will occur bi-weekly. The first operation, for C$7 billion, is set for next Tuesday.

Regular one-month and three-month term repo operations will remain in effect but could change with regards to size, frequency and term, it added. The size is typically between C$3 billion and C$6 billion.

“The Bank of Canada continues to closely monitor global market developments and remains committed to providing liquidity as required to support the functioning of the Canadian financial system,” it said.

The Canadian dollar added to its decline after the announcement, hitting a four-year low at 1.3962 to the U.S. dollar, or 71.62 U.S. cents, before recovering some ground.

Earlier in the day the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would make $1.5 trillion available for overnight lending markets and start purchasing a broader range of U.S. Treasury securities as part of its monthly purchases. (Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa and Fergal Smith in Toronto; Editing by Sandra Maler and Daniel Wallis)

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