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Key International Central Banks Coordinate Interest Rate Cuts

U.S. and European central banks have in unison cut their interest rates by half a percentage point. The coordinated move is aimed at bringing some stability back to the shaky global economy and slumping stock markets. For VOA, Tom Rivers reports from London.

The half-a-point lending rate cut was coordinated between the U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, and the Banks of Canada, Sweden, Switzerland and England.

China also made a cut of just over a quarter of a point and the Bank of Japan strongly expressed its support for the coordinated international move.

In Britain, a Bank of England cut was anticipated, but that was not supposed to happen until Thursday.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the move was highly significant.

"The coordinated cut in interest rates is an important signal that the world will come together to deal with this economic problem and I believe that it has come at the right time to show that the action that we are taking and the action that the Americans are taking and the action taken in other countries in Europe is action that is designed to together solve the problem that we face," said Brown.

Building on this international coordination the prime minister said, was very important. He said during the next couple of days accounting standards will be discussed among G7 members, an IMF meeting is scheduled for Saturday and he hoped that an international leaders' meeting on the economic crisis could be held soon.

"We need to have responsibility and integrity at the heart of the global financial system," he said. "We need a global early warning system and cooperation among regulators that to be frank, we in Britain have tried for for years, but have not been able to persuade other countries to support and we will continue to seek coordinated action on economic policy."

The interest-rate announcement was made just after the British government disclosed its own $87.5 bank-rescue plan.

The lending rate cut managed to pull the major European markets out of the steep declines seen early in Wednesday's trade and some of that lost value was regained in later trading.