The Federal Reserve, European Central Bank and four other central banks lowered interest rates in an unprecedented, emergency coordinated bid to ease the economic effects of the financial crisis.
The Fed cut its benchmark rate by a half point to 1.5 percent, the central bank in a statement. The ECB and central banks of the U.K., Canada, Sweden and Switzerland are also reducing rates, the Fed said in a statement.
“The recent intensification of the financial crisis has augmented the downside risks to growth and thus has diminished further the upside risks to price stability,” according to a joint statement by the central banks. “Some easing of global monetary conditions is therefore warranted.”