Hungary cuts on fears of "sharp downturn"

The National Bank of Hungary on Monday lowered rates for the third time since the start of December on signs of a more severe-than-expected economic slowdown.

The central bank's 50 basis-point cut, which was widely expected, leaves the benchmark base rate at 9.5%.

The Monetary Council said it expected inflation to be below the medium-term target of 3% and the economy to suffer a sharp downturn.

"Data released over the past month indicate that the outlook for the real economy has deteriorated f