The Reserve Bank plans to buy up to $5 billion in Australian government bonds on the first day of its quantitative easing program on Friday as it looks to cushion the economic shock from the coronavirus pandemic.

Following an out-of-schedule meeting on Thursday, the RBA reduced its cash rate to an all-time low of 0.25 per cent and said it would do “whatever is necessary” to keep yields on three-year government bonds low.

On Friday, the RBA offered to buy bonds with maturity between two years and eight years, maturing in July 2022, April 2023, November 2027 and May 2028.