New Zealand cuts by half a point

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand on Thursday cut rates by half a point for the first time in almost seven years on evidence the country's economy was now in recession.

Analysts had expected a quarter point cut and the kiwi plunged sharply on the news. But the central bank said conditions required a bigger move.

"We have brought forward some of the projected interest rate reduction [set out in the June Monetary Policy Statement] but have not altered the expected overall decline," Alan Bollard, the

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