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Credit-easing Steps By Central Banks, At A Glance

By The Associated Press

The Bank of Japan said Thursday that it will pump money into the Japanese financial system to try to combat deflation, encourage borrowing and lift the economy out of a prolonged slump. Japan's central bank is acting in concert with others around the world to stimulate growth. Here are some steps major central banks have taken to try to bolster their banking systems and economies:

â¿¿ BANK OF JAPAN

Interest rates: Has kept its benchmark interest rate at zero to 0.1 percent.

Bond buying: Announced Thursday that it will double its purchases of government bonds, a step that will flood the economy with money. The action will also drive down the value of the yen. A cheaper yen will make Japanese goods less costly for Americans and other foreigners. But it will make U.S. and other exports comparatively more expensive in Japan.

â¿¿ FEDERAL RESERVE

Interest rates: Has kept its benchmark short-term rate at a record low near zero since December 2008 and has said it plans to keep it there at least until unemployment falls to 6.5 percent from its current 7.7 percent.

Bond buying: It is buying $85 billion a month in bonds indefinitely to try to keep long-term borrowing costs down. It has said it might vary the size of its monthly purchases depending on whether the job market improves.

â¿¿ EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK

Interest rates: Has kept its benchmark rate at 0.75 percent, a record low.

Bond buying: Plans to buy unlimited amounts of government bonds to help lower borrowing costs for countries struggling to manage their debts. Earlier, the ECB gave banks more than euro1 trillion ($1.3 trillion) in low-interest loans lasting up to three years. On Thursday, President Mario Draghi said the ECB is considering doing more to shore up the ailing economy of the euro alliance. Draghi said that an interest rate cut has been discussed and that the ECB is considering "various tools" beyond lower rates if Europe's economy needs more help.

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