Hang Seng Bk says to cut HK prime rate by 50 bps

HONG KONG, March 19 Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:12am EDT

HONG KONG, March 19 (Reuters) - Hang Seng Bank (0011.HK) said on Wednesday it would cut its best lending rate in Hong Kong by 50 basis points to 5.25 percent.

The new rate will come into effect from Thursday, the bank said.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority earlier on Wednesday lowered the base rate charged through its overnight discount window by 75 basis points to 3.75 percent, after the U.S. Federal Reserve cut benchmark interest rates by 75 basis points to 2.25 percent in a bid to shore up a weakening U.S. economy.

Hong Kong tracks U.S. interest rate moves because its currency is pegged to the U.S. dollar but local banks have some leeway to lag U.S. moves when setting prime rates. (Reporting by Christina Lo; editing by Ken Wills)

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