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February 3, 2009

Vietnam to trim rates further

Vietnam's central bank plans to cut interest rates further this year to spur borrowing and boost economic growth in the face of the global slowdown, state media reported on Tuesday.

"The management of interest rates will be directed towards more cuts and based on careful calculation of the funds available and borrowing demand," State Bank Governor Nguyen Van Giau was quoted as saying by the Saigon Times.

On February 1, the Southeast Asian country's central bank cut interest rates for the sixth time in three months after inflation in January was the lowest in almost a year and as industrial production slumped.

The rate cut by the State Bank of Viet Nam, which brought the benchmark base rate down 150 basis points to 7 percent, had been widely expected as the government has been trying to stave off an economic downturn.

Vietnam's economic growth slowed down last year to its weakest pace in almost a decade of just 6.23% after being hit first by soaring prices and then the global financial crisis.

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