China announced interest rate cuts for the first time since 2008 on Thursday. The one-year lending rate was reduced by a quarter percentage point to 6.31 percent.
The Bank of England, though, left monetary policy unchanged on Thursday after the services PMI came in unchanged at 53.3 in May and the British Retail Consortium reported a stronger-than-expected 3.4 percent annual rise in the value of retail sales.
In the US, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress on Thursday that the central bank is ready to take action to stimulate the economy but gave no indication such action was imminent.
Europe's debt crisis remains a concern for most central bankers. Thursday brought more bad news on that front as Fitch cut Spain's credit rating by three notches to BBB.
Ironically, the Fitch cut came on a day that Spanish bonds surged. Spain’s 10-year yield fell 19 basis points to 6.09 percent on Thursday after the government exceeded its maximum target at a debt sale.
Meanwhile, data on Thursday indicated that Japan's economy may be losing momentum. Its index of coincident economic indicators fell 0.2 point in April, the first drop in three months. The index of leading economic indicators saw an even bigger fall of 1.3 points.