Australia cuts interest rates by 0.5%

AUSTRALIA - Australia's central bank on Apr 4, 2001 cut interest rates by half percentage point to boost consumer confidence and limit the impact of a global slowdown. It was the third reduction at board meetings in a row, bringing Australian interest rates level with the U.S. Fed funds rate at 5.0%.

Reserve Bank Governor Ian Macfarlane said the central bank's board "remains firmly of the view that the economy's medium-term growth prospects are very good, but recognizes that two risks to short