The Fed, ECB, Bank of England, Bank of Canada and Sweden's Riksbank each cut their benchmark rates by half a percentage point. The Bank of Japan, which didn't participate in the move, said it supported the action. Switzerland also took part. Separately, China's central bank lowered its key one-year lending rate by 0.27 percentage point.
The Fed's decision brought its benchmark rate to 1.5 percent. The ECB's main rate is now 3.75 percent; Canada's fell to 2.5 percent; the U.K.'s rate dropped to 4.5 percent; and Sweden's rate declined to 4.25 percent. China cut interest rates for the second time in three weeks, reducing the main rate to 6.93 percent.
The Fed's Open Market Committee, which voted unanimously for the move, said in its statement that ``incoming economic data suggest that the pace of economic activity has slowed markedly in recent months. Moreover, the intensification of financial market turmoil is likely to exert additional restraint on spending.''
The Fed also cut its rate on direct loans to banks, the so- called discount rate, by a half point to 1.75 percent.