Japan lowers growth forecast

The Bank of Japan has chopped more than half a point off its growth estimate for 2008 and warned that in a highly uncertain climate, downside risks to the economy could further limit expansion.

The central bank now predicts that the world's second-largest economy will expand by 1.5% over the course of 2008, down from an earlier estimate of 2.1%. It acknowledged that actual growth could turn out even lower because of downside risks to the global economic outlook.

Though a rate cut remains unli

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