President of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet smiles during a press conference after the Governing Council meeting of the European Central Bank on November 6, 2008 in Frankfurt, Germany.
President of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet smiles during a press conference after the Governing Council meeting of the European Central Bank on November 6, 2008 in Frankfurt, Germany. - 
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Steve Chiotakis: Asian markets had deep losses this morning too, and even European stocks are lower this morning, in spite of cuts in interest rates. The European Central Bank cut its key rate by half a point. Meantime in the U.K., British stocks are down, even though the Bank of England announced an even bigger rate cut. Here's Stephen Beard in London.


Stephen Beard: The British central bank has cut rates by a massive 1.5 percent -- one of the steepest cuts on record. Clearly, the bank is extremely worried about the U.K.'s economic slowdown.

With good reason, according to figures out today: House prices fell a further 2.2 percent last month. And new car sales in October were 23 percent lower than the same month last year.

Today's deep cut in interest rates takes them to 3 percent -- the lowest level in Britain for more than 50 years. But homeowners and businesses complain that the commercial banks are still reluctant to lend.

Stephen Alamabritis of the Federation of Small Businesses:

Stephen Alamabritis: A lot of small businesses are having great difficulty accessing loans from their bank. And so the banks themselves are beginning to be a cause of business failure.

Many economists say that in spite of today's rate cut, Britain is headed for a nasty recession.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.