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Polish central bank cuts key rate

Poland’s central bank cut interest rates by a bigger-than-expected 50 basis points on Wednesday, signaling that policymakers’ concern over rapidly slowing growth had trumped their fear of inflation. The National Bank of Poland lowered the benchmark seven-day reference rate to 3.25%. It was the fifth straight cut since November but the first of that magnitude, and it exceeded analysts’ expectations of a quarter point cut. The Lombard rate was also slashed by half a percentage to 4.75%. Poland’s annual growth weakened notably to 1.1% in the fourth quarter from 1.4% in the preceding quarter. Sequential growth eased modestly to 0.2% from 0.3%. In the whole of 2012, growth slowed sharply to 2% from 4.3% a year earlier.