China Cuts Interest Rates

Central bank eases for first time since 2008 to combat a deepening economic slowdown.

China cut interest rates for the first time since 2008, stepping up efforts to combat a deepening economic slowdown as Europe’s worsening debt crisis threatens global growth.

The benchmark one-year lending rate will drop to 6.31 percent from 6.56 percent effective tomorrow, the People’s Bank of China said on its website today. The one-year deposit rate will fall to 3.25 percent from 3.5 percent. Banks can also offer a 20 percent discount to the benchmark lending rate, the PBOC said, widening from a previous 10 percent.

Slowdown Worsening 

China’s manufacturing expanded at the slowest pace in six months in May, a government report showed on June 1, adding to signs the nation’s slowdown is worsening. A separate purchasing managers’ index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics pointed to a seventh straight contraction, the longest stretch since the global financial crisis.

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