Vietnam cuts key rates for second time in a month

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Vietnam slashed two key interest rates Wednesday, the second cuts in a month aimed at countering slowing growth as double-digit inflation continues to ease.

The refinancing rate was cut to 13 percent from 14 percent and the discount rate reduced to 11 percent from 12 percent effective Wednesday, the State Bank of Vietnam said in a statement.

Last week, official figures showed growth slowed to 4 percent in the first three months of 2012, its slowest rate in three years as the government prioritized fighting inflation. The rate was well down on the 5.57 percent posted in the same period last year and the weakest since the 3.1 percent recorded in the first quarter of 2009.

The Wednesday rate cut comes a month after a 1 percent cut in the refinancing rate charged on loans to commercial banks which was the first reduction in nearly three years.

Inflation fell in March for the seventh consecutive month, with the consumer price index up 14.15 percent still high, but the lowest level in a year.

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