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The Federal Reserve led a coordinated round of global official rate cuts on Wednesday, easing by a half-point, as did the European Central Bank, Bank of England and Swiss, Canadian and Swedish banks. In an attempt to stem unprecedented global market turmoil, the Fed cut its key federal funds lending rate by half a percentage point to 1.5 percent and also lowered its discount rate by the same amount to 1.75 percent.
The ECB also cut by a half-point to 3.75 percent as did the Bank of England, taking its rate to 4.5 percent.