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Factbox – How low can they go? Central bank policy easing in 2015

(Reuters) – A total of 26 central banks and monetary authorities around the world have eased policy this year, in an unprecedented wave of measures aimed at boosting growth and bolstering inflation. Below is a chronological list of the moves.

Jan. 1 UZBEKISTAN

Uzbekistan’s central bank cuts its refinancing rate to 9 percent from 10 percent.

Jan. 7/Feb. 4/March 31 ROMANIA

Romania’s central bank shaved another quarter point off its benchmark interest rate to a record low of 2.00 percent with weak inflation expanding its room to ease.

Jan. 15 SWITZERLAND

The Swiss National Bank stuns markets by scrapping its three-year-old cap on the franc’s value against the euro, leading to a surge in the currency. The de facto tightening, however, is in part offset by a cut in the interest rate on certain sight deposit account balances of 0.5 percentage points, to -0.75 percent.

Jan. 15/March 4 INDIA

The Reserve Bank of India unexpectedly lowers its policy rate for the second time this year, backing the 10-month-old government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in its push to revive economic growth as inflation cools.

Jan. 15 EGYPT

Egypt’s central bank makes a surprise 50-basis-point cut in its main interest rates, reducing the overnight deposit and lending rates to 8.75 and 9.75 percent, respectively.

Jan. 16 PERU

Peru’s central bank unexpectedly cuts its benchmark interest rate to 3.25 percent from 3.5 percent after the country posts its worst monthly economic expansion since 2009.

Jan. 20 TURKEY

Turkey’s central bank lowers its main interest rate, but draws heavy criticism from government ministers, who say the 50- basis-point cut, five months before a parliamentary election, is not enough to support growth.

Jan. 21 CANADA

The Bank of Canada cuts interest rates to 0.75 percent from 1 percent, where they had been since September 2010, ending the longest period of unchanged rates in Canada since 1950.

Jan. 22 EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK

The ECB launches a government bond-buying programme which will pump over 1 trillion euros into the sagging euro zone economy, starting in March and running to September next year and perhaps beyond.

Jan. 24 PAKISTAN

Pakistan’s central bank cuts its key discount rate to 8.5 percent from 9.5 percent, citing lower inflationary pressure because of falling global oil prices. Central Bank Governor Ashraf Wathra says the new rate will be in place for two months, until the next central bank meeting to discuss further policy.

Jan. 28 SINGAPORE

The Monetary Authority of Singapore unexpectedly eases policy, saying in an unscheduled policy statement that it will reduce the slope of its policy band for the Singapore dollar because the inflation outlook has “shifted significantly” since its last review in October 2014.

Jan. 28 ALBANIA

Albania’s central bank cuts its benchmark interest rate to a record low 2 percent. This follows three rate cuts last year, the most recent in November.

Jan. 30/March 13 RUSSIA

Russia’s central bank cuts its one-week minimum auction repo rate by 100 basis points to 14 percent, less than two months after cutting it by two points to 15 percent, as fears of recession mount following the fall in global oil prices and Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

Feb. 3 AUSTRALIA

The Reserve Bank of Australia cuts its cash rate to an all-time low of 2.25 percent, seeking to spur a sluggish economy while keeping downward pressure on the local dollar.

Feb. 4/28 CHINA

China’s central bank cuts interest rates for the second time in a month to fight off economic slowdown and rising deflation risks. Following a system-wide cut to bank reserve requirements in early February, policymakers follow up with a cut in benchmark interest and saving rates at the end of the month.

Jan. 19/22/29/Feb. 5 DENMARK

The Danish central bank cuts interest rates four times in less than three weeks and intervenes regularly in the currency market to keep the crown within the narrow range of its peg to the euro.

Feb. 2/March 19 COSTA RICA

Costa Rica’s central bank cuts its main interest rate by 0.25 percentage point to 4.5 percent, the second rate reduction in less than two months.

Feb. 13/March 18 SWEDEN

Sweden’s central bank cuts the key repo rate by 0.15 percentage points to -0.25 percent and says it will buy 30 billion Swedish crowns ($ 3.40 billion) of government bonds after already completing 10 billion crowns of purchases.

Feb. 17 INDONESIA

Indonesia’s central bank cuts its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 7.5 percent, the first rate cut in three years.

Feb. 18 BOTSWANA

Botswana’s central bank cuts its benchmark lending rate by 100 basis points to 6.5 percent, saying the state of the economy and inflation outlook provided scope for easing monetary policy.

Feb. 23 ISRAEL

The Bank of Israel lowers its benchmark interest rate to 0.1 percent from 0.25 percent, its first reduction in six months, amid persistent deflation and a strengthening shekel.

March 4 POLAND

Poland’s central bank cuts interest rates by 50 basis points to an all-time low of 1.50 percent, to curb deflation and prevent excessive gains of its currency.

March 11 THAILAND

Thailand’s central bank cuts its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 1.75 percent in a bid to spark the stubbornly sluggish economy. The cut is the first rate change in a year and expected by only five of 21 analysts in a Reuters poll.

March 12 SOUTH KOREA

South Korea’s central bank cuts interest rates for the first time in five months in a surprise move, lowering its base rate by 25 basis points to a record low of 1.75 percent.

March 12 SERBIA

Serbia’s central bank cuts its benchmark interest rate for the first time since November to 7.5 percent from 8 percent, to ward off deflation and support economic growth after a new IMF loan deal.

March 24 HUNGARY

Hungary’s central bank cuts its main interest rate for the first time in eight months, by 15 basis points to 1.95 percent, and flags further cautious easing as inflation evaporates.

(Compiled by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Larry King)

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