China cuts rates as others plan hikes

China's ailing property sector has stirred Beijing policymakers into action.

The country on Thursday (January 20) cut key one- and five-year loan rates.

That followed a surprise move by the Bank of China on Monday (January 17) to reduce its short- and medium-term rates.

The moves come after data showed fresh signs of economic weakness, including falling activity in the property sector, a key growth driver.

Shares in big developers surged following news of the rate cuts, with troubled Shimao Group jumping more than 12%.

That helped Hong Kong's Hang Seng index post its best day in six months.

It's all a stark contrast with action on rates elsewhere in the world, however.

Economists polled by Reuters expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise rates three times this year.

In the UK the Bank of England has already started tightening, having raised its benchmark rate in December.

And the European Central Bank is also expected to raise rates this year, albeit less aggressively than the Fed.

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