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'Sluggish' China cuts rates again

China's central bank has announced that it is cutting interest rates for the third time in six months to boost the country's sluggish economy.

Citing "downward economic pressures," the People's Bank of China said it would cut the rate on a one-year loan by commercial banks by 0.25% to 5.10%. The interest rate paid on a one-year deposit was lowered by 0.25% to 2.25%.

Rates were also cut on November 22 and then again on March 1. The new rates take effect tomorrow.

The cuts follow reports that trade in April shrank more than expected and that factory employment was weak.

Beijing has introduced a string of tax reductions and other measures aimed at propping up growth.

The latest cuts are expected to reduce financial costs for state companies and are a signal to state-owned banks to boost lending.

The world's second-largest economy grew 7.4% last year, the lowest growth in more than two decades. The economic slowdown is expected to persist.

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