China slashes rates

China chopped more than a percentage point off its lending rate on Wednesday in a further sign of Beijing's fears the global slowdown will spark a severe slump in export demand.

The People's Bank of China cut its one-year benchmark lending rate by 1.08 percentage points to 5.58% - the biggest loosening since October 1997. The central bank has tended to cut by 27 basis points. The one-year borrowing rate falls by the same amount to 2.52%.

The central bank said the cuts were an attempt at "ensu