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Azerbaijan Central Bank Cuts Benchmark Rate to 5% From 5.25%

Azerbaijan’s central bank lowered its benchmark interest rate to help stimulate growth outside the oil industry after crude production fell.

The bank cut the rate to 5 percent from 5.25 percent effective Dec. 10, it said today in an e-mailed statement.

Oil output in the Caspian Sea nation, the third-largest crude producer in the former Soviet Union, dropped 7.7 percent to 36 million metric tons in the first 10 months of the year, it said last month. Production declined 10 percent in 2011.

The non-oil economy, which President Ilham Aliyev is seeking to double in the next decade, expanded 10.4 percent in January through October, the bank said.

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