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Thai central bank slashes interest rate to 2 pct

Thai central bank slashes interest rate to 2 pct

Thailand's central bank slashed its benchmark lending rate for the second time in two months on Wednesday, trying to kick-start an export-dependent economy hurt by the global financial crisis and political turmoil.
The rate was lowered by three quarters of a percentage point to 2 percent, the Bank of Thailand's rate-setting committee said in a statement. That's the lowest since early 2005.
Last month the bank cut the rate by 1 full percentage point.
Assistant Governor Duangmanee Vongpradhip said the country's politics are showing signs of increased stability but it will take "some time" before the benefits of the new government's multibillion dollar economic stimulus plans begin to materialize.
A new prime minister was elected last month after a court dissolved the former ruling party for election fraud, bringing an end to protracted anti-government protests that culminated in the seizure of the capital Bangkok's two main airports for a week in late November.
Southeast Asia's second-largest economy is likely to grow between 0.5 percent and 2.5 percent in 2009 _ a sharp slowdown from last year _ because of declining exports and weak domestic demand, the central bank said earlier this month.