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European Banks to Announce Rate Cuts


Europe's two leading central banks are expected to cut interest rates Thursday, as nations around the world outline new plans to protect their financial systems from the global economic crisis.

The Bank of England and the European Central Bank are both expected to announce adjustments to their interest rates.

Wednesday, Russian news agencies reported that Moscow is drafting plans to provide $11 billion to guarantee commercial bank loans. The government also is considering using state funds to buy out mortgage loans from some banks.

In Thailand, the central bank slashed interest rates Wednesday by a full point for the first time since mid-2007, to try to revive the economy after months of political unrest.

New Zealand cut its official interest rate by 1.5 percent, the biggest reduction in nearly 10 years.

A survey released in Europe Wednesday shows that service sector activity in the 15 nations using the euro has hit its lowest level in the survey's 10-year history.

The sector activity index dropped to 42.5 in November from 45.8 in October.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Bloomberg.

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