By Daniel Hunter

The People's Bank of China has cut interest rates to 5.1% as the country battles slowing economic growth.

It is the second time this year that the central bank has lowered interest rates. It follows the news that economic growth slowed from 7.7% in 2013 to 7.4% last year - the slowest growth for 24 years.

The move to cut interest rates is designed to encourage investment and development.

The central bank said in a statement: "China's economy is still facing relatively big downward pressure.

"At the same time, the overall level of domestic prices remains low, and real interest rates [interest rates relative to inflation] are still higher than the historical average."

Slowing growth is expected to continue. Last week the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that China's economic growth would stabilise at around 6% in 2017.