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China Cuts Interest Rates to Boost Growth

China slashed a key interest rate for the fourth time in three months in a new move to boost slowing economic growth.

BEIJING (AP) -- China slashed a key interest rate for the fourth time in three months on Wednesday in a new move to boost credit as Beijing launches a multibillion-dollar package to bolster slowing economic growth.

The central bank's 1.08 percentage point rate cut is a huge margin by Chinese standards and reflected the government's urgency about trying to persuade companies and consumers to borrow and spend more.

The central bank also cut the amount of money banks must set aside as reserves, expanding the pool available for lending.

The moves are meant to "promote stable credit growth," the bank said on its Web site.

Interest on a one-year loan will fall to 5.58%, while interest paid on bank deposits also will fall, the central bank said. The cut takes effect Thursday.

The amount that China's biggest banks must hold in reserve will fall by 1 percentage point to 15.5%, the bank said. It said the reserve for smaller banks would fall by 2 percentage points to 14.5%.

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