Malaysia acts on signs of slowdown

Bank Negara Malaysia on Monday cut its key rate after keeping borrowing costs on hold for more than two and a half years.

Monday's cut leaves the benchmark overnight policy rate at 3.25%. Rates have been on hold since April 2006, when the central bank hiked by a quarter point. It is the first time the central bank has cut rates since 2003.

The cut was unexpected by most analysts, though a significant minority did foresee some loosening.

The central bank termed the cut a "pre-emptive measure"