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US Federal Reserve cuts rates by 0.5 per cent

The US Federal Reserve yesterday cut its short term rate by 0.5 per cent to 5.5 per cent from 6 per cent, while describing the US economy as needing &#39a rapid and forceful response&#39.

Rates have now come down by 1 per cent in January, as figures released yesterday showed a sharp decline in economic growth in the final quarter of 2000.

Most analysts expect a cut in UK rates when the Bank of England monetary policy committee meets next week.

Chase de Vere marketing director Graham Hooper says: “The monetary policy committee was split five to four against a cut. I&#39m sure we&#39ll see a cut next week, of at least 0.25 per cent.”

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