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Russia's central bank cuts key interest rate to help spur economy

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MOSCOW — Russia's Central Bank has cut its key interest rate by 0.5 percentage points to 11 percent, bowing to the pressure of businesses to make lending more accessible.

The bank's decision, which was announced Friday, comes at a time when the ruble has dropped to a four-month low. Market watchers were saying that Russian monetary officials would have to choose between cutting the rate, thus helping Russian producers, and keeping it in order to stem the ruble's fall.

The national currency has lost about 15 percent from its May high as the government was buying up foreign currency for its international reserves.

The central bank raised the rate to 17 percent overnight in December last year to defend the then-plummeting value of the ruble.

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