Kuwait lowers key interest rate to 2.0 percent

The cut is effective from Thursday

KUWAIT CITY - The Central Bank of Kuwait announced on Wednesday it has cut its benchmark discount rate by 50 basis points to 2.0 percent, its first reduction in 32 months.
Governor Mohammad al-Hashel said the reduction -- the seventh since October 2008 -- was taken to make borrowing cheaper, the official KUNA news agency reported.
The cut, the first since February 2010, will be effective from Thursday. Under central bank regulations, interest rates on loans cannot exceed three percent above the discount rate.
Hashel said the measure was aimed at boosting growth in the non-oil sector and part of efforts to strengthen confidence in the national economy and accelerate growth.
Many Kuwaiti companies, especially investment firms, are still reeling from the impact of the global financial crisis and the oil-rich Gulf state's stock market is 60 percent lower than its level on August 31, 2008.