February 16, 2009 / 12:49 PM / 10 years ago

Iraq c.bank to cut rates to 11 pct from March 1

BAGHDAD, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Iraq’s central bank said on Monday it will cut interest rates from 14 percent to 11 percent next month as slowing inflation gave it scope to help economic growth.

The bank said in a statement the decision to cut rates came amid a “decline in the consumer price index in January and a desire to boost gross domestic product and combat unemployment.”

The rate cut will take effect on March 1.

Last month, the bank cut interest rates by one percentage point in a bid to shore up Iraq’s economy and protect it from the global financial crisis.

The core inflation rate, which excludes spending on fuel, fell to an annual 9.2 percent in January from 11.7 percent in December, the bank said.

Inflation has fallen sharply since the chaotic days of 2006, when rampant violence and instability caused prices to rise by over 60 percent. (Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; Editing by Missy Ryan, Swaha Pattanaik)

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